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Machen MacDonald: Keeping agreements grows the organization

Want to be happier in life and more successful in business?

All you need to do is lower your expectations and keep your agreements.

I can already hear the over achievers blasting the importance of raising expectations in order to get more done. They’ll argue the problem with mediocrity is too many people have already lowered their expectations and that’s why things are not as good as they should be. They will even spout they ALWAYS keep their agreements; it’s others that need to work on keeping their agreements.



This week, I noticed a common theme with people coming to me feeling, what I would call, disappointment. The disappointment centered around their feeling let down by others in their life and at work. It also came from not keeping their agreements and they didn’t even know it until it was pointed out to them.

A business owner was frustrated with an employee’s behavior of not meeting various deadlines. Another professional found themselves not happy with their own performance and thus having to deal with lower monthly commissions than normal. A third was feeling disappointed because they learned of an important development too late and could not plan accordingly because they missed the meeting where the announcement was made.




These situations all led to feelings of disappointment on their part.

Let’s take a closer look at one of these. Pat who owns a business and has several employees was disappointed with a particular employee that was not accountable to keeping his agreements to getting certain things done in a designated time frame. Each time the employee would miss a deadline, Pat would start to fume and either directly or passively ridicule the employee leaving the employee not feeling very good about himself.

Here’s a little back story — a couple months ago, Pat had made a commitment, to herself, to become a better boss by learning some management and leadership skills so she could more effectively hold people accountable. Because Pat chose to take on other things and become distracted with other issues, she did not make the time to enhance her professional development as a boss.

Was Pat more disappointed with the employee’s poor performance or her own not keeping her agreement with herself to work on herself professionally? You may argue both. However, the employee’s less than stellar performance was merely an opportunity for Pat to put into practice her leadership abilities. The worker’s performance was a direct reflection of her leadership or lack thereof.

Pat came to realize if she had chose to keep her agreement with herself to learn and practice better leadership a couple months ago rather than taking on more busy work, she would most likely not be experiencing the repetitive low performance level of her employee. Up to this point, in this situation, Pat did not keep her agreement with herself and continued to have a high expectation of her employee.

Going forward Pat realizes the importance of enhancing her leadership ability and has recommitted to learning how to effectively lead and manage. She also lowered her expectations of her employee because she could now clearly see her employee was doing the best he knew how and needs some support and training which he has not had up to this point. With this new perspective, Pat no longer feels disappointed in herself nor her employee. She is excited about keeping her agreement with herself to become a better boss and feels more compassion toward her employee. Just from this place she is happier and can see herself becoming more successful as a leader.

Make it up, make it fun, and you’ll get it done.

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000


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