We aspire to do great things. But too often we come up short. After years of experiencing our own failures and successes, and studying those of others, we have come to believe that doing great things depends less on tools and techniques, and more on working together effectively to solve difficult problems.
How well we work together is governed by the agreements we make and the quality of the relationships we form as a result of how we manage those agreements. All too often, however, we manage agreements poorly. We break our agreements, and when we do, we fail to confront and renegotiate them quickly and effectively.
When these things happen, the trust we share in ourselves and in our colleagues erodes, and we unintentionally reinforce a culture that reduces our ability to solve the problems we face every day.
The best teams and organizations—those that achieve the best results and take the greatest joy in their work—express a unique discipline in the way they work together. We see this discipline as the agreements they make and the culture that results from making and managing agreements well.
Agreements, well made and well managed, are the engine of culture change. The culture engine, when properly maintained and fueled, creates an environment that amplifies the power of the tools and techniques we use and supports the extraordinary collaboration that is required to achieve extraordinary results.
By mastering agreements, we realize the full potential of ourselves and of our organizations to solve the wonderful and terrible problems we encounter when we aspire to do great things.