Business As Usual

What difference would it make to the effectiveness of your team if defensiveness were reduced and trust increased by 50% tomorrow?

Behavior as Usual = Unaccountable as Usual
“Behavior as usual” results in “relationships as usual”, meaning fear-based, characterized by defensiveness such as pretending, blaming, denying, rationalizing, judging, not listening, pocket vetoes, hidden agendas, us vs. them, turf wars, gossip, grudges, smoke screens, back channeling, “yes men”, etc.

In the vast majority of organizations, people simply do not trust each other.

Behavior as Usual = Mistrust as Usual
Optimal human performance in any endeavor is neither attainable nor sustainable if the players do not trust one another.

Company Politics –What is it costing you?
The sum of all the employees’ fear feeds the traditional mistrust that cripples if not bankrupts an organization’s potential. Notice how guarded, careful, and watchful people are around one another, especially with their boss, and in meetings. Fear daily drains human energy that would otherwise be available to move the company’s business ahead. In effect, the organization is “scared stiff”; contracted and stagnate rather than expanding, which reflects the leadership openness and accountability.

The real problems get solved when the people solving them get real.

Beyond IQ: The New Frontier
It is not enough to be both bright and hard working. That is a given for participation on elite, high octane teams. What distinguishes such teams from one another is not their IQ. Smart people who don’t trust one another are simply more capable of defensive behaviors and political maneuvering.

Extraordinary productivity comes not only from innate gifts, but from how quickly team members build trust with one another, which is not a function of IQ. Building trust requires being open and accountable -which seems counter intuitive to most people in the workplace, and therefore requires courage more than IQ.


When people trust one another they are accountable, transparent, and non-defensive, resulting in extraordinary energy for work and life.


Agreements & Accountability

Agreements for Action turn basic questions into the following explicit statements:

  1. What is to be done.
  2. Who will do it.
  3. By when will #1 be done.

Agreements for Action never have the following sort of phrases in them:
I think it would be a good idea if you…Why don’t we…Maybe you should…My suggestion for you would be to…I’ll try to…I’ll see about it…What if we…Lets…I’ll bet we could…You might try to…I think I can…etc.

The above phrases are musings, general ideas and suggestions. They characterize a discussion, not an agreement for action.They are too vague and formless, having no bottom, sides or top.

Agreements for Action can be renegotiated to allow for the fact that while we bargain for climate, what we get is weather. But, changes to Who, What and When must be agreed upon mutually.

The intention of Agreements for Action is to insure that we ask for what we want rather than hold back. Most of us really don’t expect others to do what they say they will do and don’t like confronting them when they don’t. We don’t want to deal with the possibility that the other person will not like us for being direct and straight forward. But agreements for action have no place for withholding. You will not end up a victim to the other person’s excuses and non-performance. The intention is to place you at 100% responsibility for your results. This formula is meant to be applied across the spectrum of your relationships. Do not allow people you think you depend upon, such as coworkers, bosses, suppliers, vendors, subcontractors, customers (internal and external), government employees, members of institutions, family, friends etc., to be less than 100 % responsible for their words and their actions -which includes what they don’t say (withhold) and don’t do.

Consequences for broken agreements include:

-Anger, confrontation and upset
-Erosion of trust and respect
-Job performance review