Find Agreement

A path to mutual accountability

Use this process to check out an (apparently) broken agreement -- only if you’re not feeling activated and you’re simply looking for clarity. If an agreement has been broken and you’re feeling activated, use the conflict process. 

Mindset for the conversation with the other party: attempt to be calm, open, curious. If you’re having a hard time with this, the facilitator will work to bring both parties back to neutrality.

Communication pathway: Synchronous, over video or in person. Don't do this asynchronously, or over text, SMS, chat or Slack.

Step 1: Connection request 

  • Ask the other person if they’re available, as you’ll want this conversation to be synchronous (video or in person) and to take place at a good time for all parties 
  • The language will differ slightly depending on the circumstances. When on a video call, audio-only call, or in person: “I’d like to check something out with you around an agreement... is now a good time?” 
  • If yes, proceed. If no, schedule a time you can both agree to.
  • When using text (Slack, SMS): "I'd like to check something out with you about our sync earlier today. Could we talk in 10 minutes?" Avoid saying "We need to talk!" or simply diving into the issue. For the person receiving this, they may ask “What’s this about?” to gain context / clarity before proceeding.

Step 2: State the agreement 

  • Use I statements, such as, “I heard you say” (not “You said” or “you promised”) or "I heard us agree to ___" or  "I understood that we agreed to ____"
  • This could look like, "I understood that we agreed to contribute our solutions during the planning meeting on Tuesday."

Step 3: Share the data

  • Use I statements: "What I saw/ heard...”
  • Stay focused on facts that pertain to your experience, such as, "I didn’t hear your input during the meeting and I saw you leave before the meeting ended."

Step 4: Find out whether you’re on the same page

  • It’s important to understand whether the other party agrees with the shared agreement (was it indeed shared?), the data you presented.
  • This is where you clear things up. This could look like saying, “Did you also have that understanding about contributing our solutions at the planning meeting?” 
  • If yes, clarity has been achieved. If no, take this opportunity to get clear by asking, “What was your understanding?” and go from there.

Step 5: Committing to an agreement  

  • If you both agree to the shared agreement, determine how to address it
  • Using the above example, let’s say the other party was distracted by a family emergency and had to leave unexpectedly for the hospital  
  • Agreement is validated and updated to reflect as much Consulting or Informing (ARCI) as possible when things come up. Such as, “If I need to urgently leave a meeting, I will text you to let you know what’s going on.” 
  • If you don’t agree, come up with something you can both agree to and write out this new agreement. This could look like saying, “If I can’t fully contribute as planned, I will let you know and skip the meeting.” 
I think asking permission shows a lot of respect, regardless of your work status. So this is something new, and it feels really nice, to be asked if you have time to check something out.
This workshop gave me new learnings in terms of communication and it’s also like learning a new process that I could use to resolve conflicts, in approaching people that surrounds me.
I’m used to managers being direct on asking questions about my work, or basically just checking something out. So I think asking permission shows a lot of respect, regardless of your work status.
This workshop made it clearer and more specific on how we can apply met and unmet needs in communicating with people not just in family culture, but with other people in relationships.
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