The Power of Agreement
Sample Chapter

Harmony

Ask yourself this question: Are you interested in having a harmonious working environment and/or life? That may seem like a rhetorical question, but it has big consequences. Obviously, you and I both are very interested in having a harmonious job and life. Harmony is an experience that people have sought throughout the ages. When you read the definition of the word "harmony" you can understand why we're all so interested in it.

Definition:

Harmony is defined as:

  • Agreement in feeling, action, ideas, interests, etc.;

  • Peaceable or friendly relations;

  • Internal calm; tranquillity.

You go to balance your checkbook and it actually balances. Harmony!

You check with the customer and you find out that he is happy with the service he is receiving and that he is willing to refer others to you. Harmony!

You and the customer agree on price and delivery terms and close a deal. Harmony!

The management team agrees on the strategic plan for expanding the company. Harmony!

There is agreement on ideas and interest, and you have a calm and tranquil feeling.

What's the secret to achieving harmony?

The secret is: Keep all your agreements and get others to keep theirs with you.

You may be saying to yourself, "How can that be?" or "That's too simple!" Let's look into it.

The definition of "agreement" is:

  • The act or fact of agreeing

  • Being in harmony

  • Concurrence (coming together, union in action, a meeting of minds).

How do we know that fulfilling agreements is the key to harmony? It's right there in definition number two: BEING IN HARMONY.

Agreement is when two or more people have the same thing in mind, when their thoughts, and hence their actions, agree. When we make agreements, we and the person with whom we have the agreement are stating that we have the same thought, understanding, or intention with regard to some situation or subject, often concerning a future action to be taken by one or the other of us.

What happens if you don't keep your agreements? You get upset.

If you were waiting to get picked up by your carpool to go to work, and they were supposed to pick you up at 8:00, it's cold out, and they have passed the socially acceptable late period (15 minutes most places) would you be having a harmonious experience or would it be upsetting? Most of us would be upset.

If your customer backed out of a deal after you had a verbal agreement or a handshake, you would probably be upset. Your expected future actions have been changed for the worse. It creates an unfulfilled expectation, which of course is unpleasant.

When there is harmony, life flows smoothly because there is agreement.

The overnight shipping company has trucks that have to roll out by 9:00 PM to get there on time the next day to satisfy their customers. They have to go through a process that everybody has to agree with and fulfill, in order for it to work. The packages arrive on time by 6:00 PM. The paper-work on them gets processed by 7:00 PM. They get assembled on the loading dock by 7:30 PM. So far, on schedule and no mistakes. The quality control guys come around to make sure the right packages are with the right paperwork, and by 8:00 all is in order. The trucks get loaded by 8:45, and the trucks leave by 9:00 PM.

Everything worked because the agreements were kept and everyone did his job. The process was calmly done and there was tranquillity in the plant.

The opposite would be hectic, dispersed action with people making mistakes, blaming others and getting confused as to who should do what and where things should go. The foreman losing his temper. The packages going to the wrong destination or the driver going to the wrong place.

It's pretty obvious the first example is a demonstration of things working, people knowing what the agreements are and fulfilling them. The rate of productivity (speed) is excellent.

The second example is a demonstration of confusion; the rate of productivity will be much slower. Especially if you count the time it will take to correct all the errors that were made.

Since we are no longer in the Information Age, but have advanced into the Age of Speed, being organized (which means having agreed-upon actions that people follow) will lead to increased productivity, job satisfaction and prosperity for the staff and the company. The bottom line is we are either in sync, in harmony, or we are upset. There are certainly degrees of harmony and upset, but the key to it all is how we manage our agreements.

Drill:

  1. Write down three examples of harmonious experiences you've had in your company (things worked well, got along great with others, had similar ideas and interest which resulted in pleasant feelings.) Answer with "Who, where, when, and what happened."

  2. Write down an example of where there was agreement in thought or interest.

  3. Write down an example of where there was agreement in action.

  4. Who in your company thinks along the same lines as you do?

[End of Sample Chapter]

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Other chapter titles:

  • What is Group Insanity?

  • The Power of Agreement

  • Harmony

  • Managing Agreements

  • Implied Agreements

  • Handling Implied Agreements

  • Explicit Agreements

  • Policy

  • Getting People to Make Agreements

  • Asking

  • The Responses

  • Tracking Agreements

  • High Performance Management

  • Technology of Agreements

  • Agreements at Work

  • Customer Satisfaction

  • Handling Complaints Creatively

  • Purpose of the Organization

  • Sales

  • Staff Meetings

  • How to Implement a New Idea

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