The Cost Of Broken Agreements
Great relationships are built on trust and respect. For us business owners, few relationships are as important as the ones among members of our team. While there is a lot of information about how to nurture good relationships, one of the most critical things we can do is to make sure we are keeping the agreements that we make with the people around us.
We make agreements every day. Some are big agreements, like promising someone a promotion or a raise. Other agreements might be smaller, like agreeing to help with a project, or to complete a report.
When we are not following through on the agreements we make, our employees, colleagues, vendors and customers begin to lose trust in us. They realize they can’t count on us, and the relationship starts deteriorating. We are perceived as a weak and unreliable. The consequences can range from a vendor’s reluctance to compromise on fee negotiations to lower employee productivity to losing treasured clients.
Depending on the circumstance, not upholding agreements can also create situations that require time, attention and sometimes a lot of money to clean up.
The Price We Pay
Members of our team aren’t the only ones affected when we fail to keep agreements. It’s us who stand to lose the most of all, because every agreement we make is one that we first make with ourselves.
When we make a commitment to do something and then don’t follow through, we start to not trust ourselves. We lose confidence in our ability to produce a result, which effects our self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect. We undermine our sense of personal power and integrity.
Even breaking a small agreement can negatively impact us. When we sit down to watch TV instead of jumping into our exercise gear when we come home (because that’s what we said we wanted to do), we create confusion and self-doubt in our unconscious mind.
How Many Agreements Do We Break?
What is really interesting is that often times we have a sense whether or no we are able to keep an agreement we have made. Yet we often agree to something just because we don’t want to draw attention to us, or we feel like we have are supposed to agree to something, for whatever reasons…
Take a minute to think through the past few days. How many agreements have you broken to yourself or to others?
How many of the agreements did you know or suspect you would be breaking? Now ask yourself why you broke the agreements – or made them knowing that you wouldn’t be able to keep your word? Using this simple three-question exercise will help you identify what’s undermining your ability to keep agreements, as therefore, your confidence and self-esteem.
3 Tips for Keeping Agreements
Here are four tips for helping you improve your ability to keep agreements:
1. Write down commitments you make.
One of the most common reasons commitments are broken is that we simply don’t remember making them. By writing them down in your task manager or calendar, you are much more likely to follow through.
2. Make fewer agreements.
This is so simple, but somehow completely overlooked in today’s fast paced world. Make a commitment only if you realistically can keep it. If you suspect or know that you will not be keeping your word, do not make the agreement. Give yourself time to think about a commitment before making it. Consider what you might have to give up to say yes to an opportunity.
3. Renegotiate commitments you can’t keep.
Communicating your inability to keep a commitment as soon as you know about it demonstrates respect for your team members. Once you break an agreement, clean up the consequences and decide whether you want to recommit to the agreement.
A strong team begins with a strong leader, you. Keeping your agreements will strengthen your self-confidence and personal power. More importantly, it will demonstrate to your team members that you are someone they can rely on 100 percent.
To your success,