The Six Agreements that make work ‘work’

Six Agreementsby Paul Grant Creating Collaborative Organisations (CCO).

How can your business create a culture of collaboration, high performance and engagement?

The six hard-core business tools that produce these results are outlined below, but they only work when there is agreement to use them across the organisation.

  1.  Acknowledgement: some companies shy away from acknowledging their employees for high-quality work. However, recent brain science demonstrates that acknowledgement is a core component in motivating individuals and teams. Motivation is the vessel through which high performance is delivered. In short, if you don’t acknowledge your team you are losing out to some untapped creativity.
  2. Listening: that is to say, listening doesn’t mean you have to agree with the other person – you just need to understand their point of view and perspective. When people are listened to they feel valued and cared for. Acknowledgement and listening form the cornerstone on which collaboration, high performance and engagement is built in the organisation.
  3. Speaking Straight: this is by no means a license to speak your mind irrespective of consequences. Rather, ‘speaking straight’ is a carefully delivered conversation that directs criticism at behaviours and processes that aren’t working, and not the person. ‘Speaking straight’ moves the game forward and it is always designed to forge positive progress whilst effectively addressing unworkability.
  4. Accountability: this creates a culture of getting things done. When people agree to take on powerful commitments that move the team and business forward, they step forward as willing to be held accountable for delivering on these commitments in full and on time.
  5. Support: training and coaching can be provided so that people are supported to win. When individuals and teams are supported they take on a greater level of responsibility and ownership for producing results. Providing support means others learn new skills and develop the ability to handle situations that they may previously have stepped back from or left more senior people to handle.
  6. Controlling Emotions: emotions distort thinking and the ability to make rational decisions. The agreement of controlling emotions enables individuals to make hardline business judgements based on rational thought and not emotional impulse. This agreement also provides people with the tools to enable them manage their angry or aggressive outbursts and to remain calm and confident in the face of their work based fears.

When the six agreements – Acknowledgment , Listening, Speaking Straight, Accountability, Support and Controlled Emotion – are deployed positively, they change the culture within businesses.

That means:

  • blame and gossip are eliminated
  • people take responsibility for making things happen
  • collaboration, performance and engagement are increased
  • a greater sense of fulfilment and joy is achieved.

Staff and businesses which follow the six agreements become self-motivated and the organisation as a whole becomes more successful.

For further information about CCO and how to create a culture of collaboration, high performance and engagement, log on to


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