Your Agreements Show Your Integrity
By Michael Angier
Except for disease and climatic disasters, I believe that most of the
worldís problems result from people not keeping their agreements.
Think about it. From countries to corporations to families and friends,
most every upset--little or large--can be traced back to someone not keeping
up their end of the bargain.
Wars break out, companies fail, marriages end, friendships fracture and
deals fall through simply because of broken agreements.
We all make agreements every day. Some seem small and insignificant: an
agreed upon time to meet, a promise to run an errand. Others are seen as
bigger and more important: a formal contract, signing a loan agreement.
But all of them are important. Because this is the way trust is earned. A
personís reputation is built upon their ability to make and keep agreements.
Your life, and the lives of those around you, will work better when
agreements are carefully made and diligently kept. The quality of your life is
in direct relation to the quality of your agreements.
Here are seven tips to help you become and remain a person who can be
1. Take All Agreements Seriously
When you agree to do something Ö do it. And do it when you said you would
in the way you agreed to do it. When you agree to meet someone, be sure to be
there and be on time. Agreements with yourself matter, too. If you promise
yourself that youíll exercise today, keep your promise. Develop the HABIT of
keeping your agreements.
2. Be Careful What You Agree To
Donít give your word lightly. Many people find it easier to say yes instead
of no. But itís far better to be a bit guarded with what we agree to do
because we can find ourselves getting over-committed and then unable to
complete what we said we would.
3. Keep Track of Your Agreements
In the course of a week we might enter into dozens of agreements. We must
have some way to track these promisesóa follow-up system to keep yourself, and
those you deal with, on top of what was promised. Write them down. You may
have great intentions, but if you forget to do what you agreed to do, the
result is the same as you CHOOSING not to keep your agreement.
4. Make Sure Your Agreements Are Clear
With a written agreement you have a prayer. With a verbal agreement youíve
got nothing but air. Itís always best to have a written agreement, even if
itís just a letter or note of understanding. Itís much easier to iron out any
confusion later if it was written down and no one has to rely on the memory of
5. Be Careful With Whom You Make Agreements
Thereís an old adage, "Cheat me once, shame on you; cheat me twice, shame
on me." If you make agreements with people who have a history of not keeping
them, youíre leaving yourself wide open for disappointment.
6. Renegotiate When Youíre Unable to Keep Your Agreement
When you find yourself unable or unwilling to complete an agreement, always
go to the other party or parties and renegotiate. It may be uncomfortable but
it will keep you in integrity and has far more class than simply not
addressing the issue.
7. Manage by Agreement
Instead of just telling someone to do something, ask them if they would
agree to doing thus and so by such and such time. If I tell someone to do
something, they might do it because they were told to do so, but if I ask them
and gain their agreement, Iíve got a lot better chance that itíll get done. In
using this method, you also find out if your request was clearly understood.
By paying careful attention to the agreements we make, tracking them and
developing the habit of keeping all our agreements we become and remain a
person of integrity.
Our lives and the world around us work in direct proportion to the
quality of our agreements.
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