How to Breathe Life into Existing Working Agreements

deep-breathWhile the first article in this series focused on the establishment of Working Agreements, this article will speak to breathing life into existing Working Agreements. Frequently, you tell us, “We have Working Agreements and no one pays attention to them!” So, what’s this about? Upon deeper reflection, it always comes down to one thing – failure of the team to hold themselves accountable for following the Agreements.

Here are a few ideas for how teams have “refreshed” their commitment to higher performance standards and expectations.

Start – Stop – Tweak

With the beginning of school near, the time is perfect for this strategy of revisiting existing Agreements. Take each Agreement statement and ask the team to what degree the Agreement is supporting their productivity as a team? Is it an Agreement to START supporting, to STOP using, or to TWEAK in a way that makes it stronger? In other words, is it an Agreement to maintain, to change, or to replace? Now is also a time to consider the addition of any new Agreements that will accelerate the performance of the team.

Truth Telling Survey

Have each team member take a survey to test the team’s awareness of Working Agreements. Use a rating scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 5 being “strongly agree”. Collate the data so the team can “see” the current level of commitment. Sample questions may include:

  • I know the Working Agreements established by my team.
  • Members of my team demonstrate commitment to the Working Agreements.
  • Our team works collaboratively to establish and achieve the goals of our work.
  • (design your own statement of expectation).

Compare and Contrast

Google . . . “characteristics of high-performing teams” . . .  for a list of the attributes of what makes these teams stand above others. Use the list as a benchmark for comparing and contrasting how your team is working together. Discuss what will accelerate your team’s work and spring forward into additional Working Agreements.

What strategy are you considering for breathing life into your existing Agreements?

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Karen Anderson, PCC, M. Ed.

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