Are you casual or intentional about maximizing agreements within your team culture?  AGREEMENTS among your team are essential for a smooth-running business. They alleviate overwork, frustration, confusion, and so much more. But where do you begin?

Right where you are


Like all skills in entrepreneurial businesses, how to step up and utilize agreements (that unify the team, promote confident action in the workplace, and achieve strong results) is a learned process that takes practice. And the added challenge with agreement-making in business is that people don’t even realize it is a skill they need to strengthen. 

What I have seen is that when strengthened, agreements quickly have a positive influence on team effectiveness—and therefore business results. In business today, the CEO and the team live and breathe change, both internally and externally, so agreements are rarely “made once and done.” 

No matter your position in the company, you are confronted with new challenges (and continual change), you are undertaking new endeavors (which never go perfectly), and you are working with humans (with no two alike)!


Ask yourself, if consciously articulated (actually said out loud) or written agreements are needed in your business, in any or all of the four areas below. We would love to hear from you about your  agreement-making wins and where you see room for improvement. 

So… STEP ONE is critical! Establish and mutually agree upon ROLES. Clarify each person’s role (be sure they’re part of the conversation). That’s the starting place. Clearly defined roles about who does what, especially in entrepreneurial businesses, aligns departments, tasks, and individual performance expectations right up front. I think you can see how clarifying roles, alone, prevent the CEO and the team from bouncing all over in chaos, overwhelm, and disorganization. Revisit roles on a regular basis to maximize efficiency.


STEP TWO is DELEGATION, one of the most common types of AGREEMENT. Simply put, this is where one person is requesting another person to take on a NEW responsibility to achieve a company outcome. The number one trap of delegation is delegating only a set of tasks without explaining the big picture, the end goal. Directing someone to simply do tasks (without complete information) puts them in a weak position to achieve the optimal result. WHY? Because: 1) they may not know what the end result looks like, or the outcome they are contributing to, or the context of why what they do even matters to achieve the outcome  2) they can only do exactly what you tell them since they have no other information  3) they cannot problem solve or recognize problems, so must rely on the delegator, not themself to identify problematic issues or to make improvements. 

THE SOLUTION? Delegate and have clear, mutual AGREEMENT about the specific outcome you are going for—a shared vision of successful completion. DELEGATE OUTCOMES, then the person taking on the responsibility understands how their part relates to the whole—the purpose of the project—and the all-important outcome for the company (think strategic goal).


Remember, delegation is a two-way responsibility. The way you communicate (hand-off) what is to be accomplished (the purpose and outcome), supports the person that is actually doing the work. (Our delegation formula and scripts are very helpful to develop delegation skills: they are available in our Ace in the Hole 30-Day Self-Leadership Journal on       


STEP THREE is necessary if you want team AGREEMENTS to actually work! And that is to provide a PSYCHOLOGICALLY SAFE working environment.
CEOs/leaders need to create a safe environment by fostering relations and modeling interactions that consistently demonstrate care, respect, appreciation of individual expertise, and personal/professional time constraints. In this type of culture, team members will then feel safe to speak openly and honestly, share differing opinions, disclose fears and feelings, offer novel ideas, and feel secure in changing their position as new information arises. To promote safety and secure working relationships, include these things: 1) Set clear and reasonable expectations  2) Provide necessary resources  3) Ask open-ended questions 4) Talk tentatively; express in ways that show your position is not fixed  5) Actively listen  6) Acknowledge facts, challenges and uncertainties  7) Meet feelings with empathy and compassion 8)  Walk in their shoes  9) Express confidence in them  10) Show interest in their well-being  11) Repair tense situations ASAP and take responsibility for your part in any issue.


STEP FOUR is easier than you think! It’s being willing to RENEGOTIATE AGREEMENTS when the current agreement is no longer effective.
The two main elements:  1) Change expectations  2) Discuss what plans/tasks/delegations need to change or be modified. 

To renegotiate effectively, show respect for team members who have invested valuable time, skills, and mental and emotional energy. They can feel their work was for naught. Give them succinct, relevant, information to explain the need for renegotiation. Clear communication about how to get things back on track is what you both are going for—because you are united for the bigger business outcomes. This keeps renegotiation focused on results that are a win-win for the people involved and for the company!  

Help participating team members understand the reason for renegotiating the agreement. Tell/show what’s changed and how that negatively impacts achieving the original goals/agreement! 1) Here’s what’s changed (why it’s not working)  2) Here’s what’s changed on my side (situation or new awareness)  3) Now I’m thinking we could do “y” instead of “x” (proactive problem solving suggestions). Invite and listen to their input, then together, renegotiate your agreement and go for the win! 


Think about today. Where is there a need for an “agreement that is in plain sight?” How would agreements (in areas you identify) benefit team members and the company? After giving it some thought…take action. 


Lastly, agreements need recovery plans, but that’s a lesson for another day!


Contact us anytime, when you feel the need for further information and guidance. 


For a personal introduction to our coaching and methods, check out our series of leadership journals on   


Ace in the Hole

30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #2

Power of Agreement

What A+ Leaders do differently to generate extraordinary results.


Ahead of the Curve Self-Leadership journal

Ahead of the Curve

30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #1

How to be a thriving ‘A+’  Leader in the fast paced,

ever-changing landscape of business today.




Agreements in action—ignite results!


Agreements in Your Workplace: Hidden in Plain Sight!

Agreements in Your Workplace: Hidden in Plain Sight!

As an entrepreneur, or as a team member, do you ever try to put all the “puzzle pieces” of the company together all by yourself? It’s heavy to build alone! You may have been there, done that. 

If not, maybe you’re a person who is in the habit of the other extreme. You stay caught up in your own “piece of the puzzle,” so much so that you neglect the other “puzzle pieces” that impact your work and connect you to the whole—and the big picture. 

Whether you are a leader or team member who feels responsible for everything, or a person who only focuses solely on your own thing, don’t be blind to all the other people and roles that it takes to coordinate completing the puzzle—seeing the big picture—and producing business results. 



Teams of people need CONSCIOUS AGREEMENTS. When teams align (through agreement) to efficiently take collective action to complete team projects, businesses grow. Success in the long haul, proves it!

Unfortunately in business, without agreements, there are team delays, frustration, confusion, miscommunication, wasted time—the very reason behind lack of success and achievement of strong business results. A solo approach ultimately backfires.

In business, consistently doing your part is essential, but be keenly aware of how your piece fits together with others pieces to complete the big picture. One of the keys to accomplishing this in business, is through building skills of daily AGREEMENT making among the team/the players. 


Right now, on your team, “agreements may be hidden in plain sight”   

Here’s the deal—reaching business goals is accomplished through a series of agreements, day-in and day-out. 


Do you know the specifics of your role? Interestingly, your first agreement is the job you agreed to take, and next, the defined role(s) of your job. You’ve already made some agreements; they’re in plain sight, but you may not consciously know it. 

For example, in my work with businesses, many team members cannot clearly define their role. Obviously it’s a must, yet many people simply don’t know the specifics of their jobs; their daily responsibilities and tasks are a guessing game that create workplace frustration, overlap, confusion, and decreased productivity. Having no role clarity is like treading in murky waters. Not productive or fun! 


Does your team need agreements? Maybe so, if projects frequently veer off-track, or your expectations of others on the team often aren’t met. 

Have you or others asked these questions? Can you easily answer them? If not, they’re “red flags” that reveal you have roles and functions, in plain sight, that NEED AGREEMENTS:

  • How do the pieces I contribute in my role (function, responsibilities, expertise) connect and fit together with others on the team? 
  • What other departments or functions does my role impact? (Update and revisit organization charts and their roles on a regular basis.)  
  • Who do I go to with updates or changes that influence project outcomes?
  • Why am I doing this? (Agreements clarify the “why” and the purpose, helping all people impacted actively contribute to the company goals.)
  • Where am I expected to be and when? (Team agreements for office hours, team Zoom meetings, slack interactions, email responses, weekends, launch times etc.) 


Think of other questions that frequently pop up often in your company. That’s where CONSCIOUS AGREEMENTS are needed, and hidden in plain sight! 


Like all skills in business, how to utilize agreements to their fullest is a learned process that takes practice. STEP ONE, ROLE CLARITY is a great starting place. Clearly defined roles about who does what, especially in entrepreneurial businesses, aligns departments, tasks, and individual performance expectations right up front. I think you can see how clear roles alone prevent the CEO and the team from bouncing all over in chaos, overwhelm, and disorganization. 


Think about your day. Where is there a need for “agreements that are in plain sight?” How would agreements (in areas you identify) benefit team members and the company? After giving it some thought… take action. It won’t feel nearly so heavy!


“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” —African Proverb    


Contact us anytime, when you feel the need for further information and guidance. 


For a personal introduction to our coaching and methods, check out our series of leadership journals on   


Ace in the Hole

30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #2

Power of Agreement

What A+ Leaders do differently to generate extraordinary results.


Ahead of the Curve Self-Leadership journal

Ahead of the Curve

30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #1

How to be a thriving ‘A+’  Leader in the fast paced,

ever-changing landscape of business today.




The skills of agreement unite teams and ignite results! 


Communication Skills Ramp Up Collaboration

Communication Skills Ramp Up Collaboration

Business competition requires team collaboration! The key to collaboration on your team is to talk with each other, not at each other! It’s a choice that takes practice and skill. And It’s essential to bring accumulated knowledge and experienced people together, to not only set goals, but to get them done.   

Communication skills are crucial, especially since people say and hear words very differently. It’s well worth your time to build communication skills, whatever your position in the company. 

However, if you are an entrepreneurial CEO, know that modeling communication skills starts with you! As an executive leader, being highly decisive is a terrific attribute, yet be aware that presenting ideas to your team from a tone of authority and total decisiveness is perceived as non-negotiable and demanding. This closes the door to weighing information and outcomes, and listening to the diverse ideas that a capable team has to offer. If you are too quick to decide all on your own, it stifles collaboration and creative ideas from team members, and says, “I don’t have confidence in you or your ideas about this.”

Simultaneously, when CEOs communicate as if it’s a “done deal,” it causes people to default into self-protective behaviors; they avoid, criticize or overcompensate. Or they blame, resist, stay silent and feel frustrated. Team members in such an environment feel undervalued and overlooked, and the business suffers. 

The great news is that learning to talk tentatively is a key behavior that changes everything. This skill emphasizes conveying your thoughts, positions and opinions, along with relevant context, while at the same time implying that you’re open to input and change.

For high-performance teams, increasing communication skills are a “must” to put your all-important business goals into effective action. This parallels your leadership focus on business impact and always striving to show up in your secure self (avoiding emotionally reactive behaviors in communication). 

The following communication skills foster open communication and collaborative environments: speaking tentatively and soliciting opinion; and active listening.    


These skills work best when they become a consistent habit. Teams come to expect this from you, and trust that they will have the opportunity to contribute and be heard. Over the years, I have trained myself to always ask, “What do you think?” This goes hand-in-hand with talking tentatively. It demonstrates that ideas aren’t presented as an absolute, a directive or a demand, but rather, “I’m thinking this…what do you think?” 

A tentative tone lets the team know that you are open to their input. You’re curious what they think, and appreciate their perspective. It’s not a done deal! 

When you approach situations this way you create opportunity and space for others to ask questions and bring forth challenges they perceive. With all opinions out on the table and addressed together, the resulting agreement has the greatest chance for success. It also demonstrates confidence and appreciation for your team’s expertise.  

The benefits of the practice of tentative talking and soliciting ideas assures that you test ideas, theories and alternative solutions—without attachment—which naturally supports a highly collaborative culture.  

Examples of tentative language that further team communication:

“I’m thinking …what do you think?”

“Given these facts, I’m considering this (plan, solution, etc.)….”

“I’ve considered (context), which is why I’m intending to….”

“The story I’ve told myself about this situation is….”

“The meaning I’ve made of this information is….”

  “I’m not certain of this, but here’s how I see it…”


Active listening is a skill and the third component in collaborative communication. It invites people to share alternative ideas after you share yours. You come together as you talk; this leads to agreeing on the bigger picture and needed results. 

Listening is being willing to change your mind, as you acknowledge, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” It encourages becoming curious and expanding ideas. It helps you focus on being present, to hear and understand, especially if it’s different from what you originally thought. Be open: “I wonder how they came to that conclusion? Let me lean into this. What am I not seeing? What are they not seeing? How does this affect our business? 

As you progress, talk tentatively, as you come toward a unified agreement. At the same time, be confident and secure in your own position, and know it’s okay and valuable if something bigger and better comes forth from others. This is functioning in servant leadership and your secure self. Be clear how it feels for you to be there. It feels good to you and to the team! 

Tentative talking and true listening, include being present and using discernment, to see beyond what you currently see, and this is the bigger picture of team collaboration and the all-important people part. 

Listening to consciously hear what is being said is always important, and especially true  during conflict resolution or high stakes decision-making. When creating change with another person, it’s imperative to listen, not so that you can reply, but listen so that you fully understand their perspective. 

As hard as it is, don’t interrupt, but rather give them adequate space to express themselves; even ask them to slow down if they’re talking too fast. It can be very helpful to paraphrase what they’ve just said to provide a clear signal that you’ve heard them, and that you clearly understand what they said. For example, “Here’s what I thought you said, did I get that right?” And empathize when you can; example: “That makes sense to me.” Then perception-check by asking questions that confirm you understand what he/she said. Give time and space for sharing.  

If you meet resistance, re-share positive intentions for the situation and focus on what can be done differently and how you can contribute to the solution. Then focus and build upon the parts you do agree on. Offer support, and at the same time be sure to offer only that which you can actually provide.

And always remember to practice the all-important “pause” during tense and weighty  communications, to keep your emotionally reactive emotions in check. This allows time and space to gain clarity, and for critical thinking to kick in. It influences the words you choose and how you say them. “The pause” opens the door to reliable critical thinking to take place about the decisions you make and the actions you take.

This is sure to ramp up communication and collaboration!

Contact us anytime, when you feel the need for further information and guidance. 

This is leadership!

Ahead of the Curve Self-Leadership journal

For a personal introduction to our coaching and methods, check out our leadership journal on






What Is Your Most Valuable Business Resource?

What Is Your Most Valuable Business Resource?

Get ready, because your answer is a defining truth! 

What is your most valuable business resource? Is it bottom-line dollarsor office space, equipment, technology or material “things?” Big kudos to you if your team popped into your mind first, because your people are absolutely your most valuable resource

Ask yourself: Are you a leader whose words and actions bring out the best in your most valuable resource—your people? Do you show appreciation for the hard-work they are doing on behalf of your company? It’s well worth your time to realistically consider if you do or don’t. Appreciation is one of the most underutilized tools. Since it brings the biggest positive return, take the time to make the most of it.

Without a doubt, for your company to grow and prosper long term, you and your team need to be in the game together—developing your business thinking and decision-making, your interactions and communication skills. And remember, the people part is the strong foundation that supports the business part. 

To develop an ‘A+’ team, you need people who are free to take actions that let their abilities shine, and do what they do best. They need to feel valued. So, keep up with the pace of change and competition by becoming a Self-Leader who shows up and trusts your team to do the same, even when there is a great deal of stress and pressure in the business. When you embody this, I bet you agree that your team follows your lead and has superior performance, and proves to be your most valuable resource! 

As you (and your team) evolve using The CcORE Empowerment Process, you consistently take the steps to diffuse self-protection habits, showing up in your secure self. This is what that looks like and why it matters to your business. To show up in your secure self means that you are secure in your perspective, and at the same time you listen to others’ thinking, even to the degree that you might change and expand your own, and consider other possibilities. You value the wealth of information your ‘A+’ Team of people bring to the table. 

This means that you have the confidence to “let go” and “let them.” You welcome your greatest resource, your people, to play the game with their unique set of skills; you welcome their expertise, critical thinking and decision-making. It’s personally freeing to be secure enough in your role that you encourage team collaboration, which simultaneously increases input and productivity, and the tangible value of your company.      

But to achieve the goals of a growing company, once again, ask yourself if you are a leader who shows up in Self-Leadership. OR, are you a leader who clings to a position of authority and power, feeling you are the only capable person in the room? 

Remember, this is a defining truth. Do you think that your genius alone will lead to achieving the business goals and the much-needed outcomes? If so, relying on your singular authority and power—one top person, without the support of a team—will stress you out and burn you out. For some, this is a hard truth, but it has to be said, because this model of leadership is an outdated notion, and an impossible position to maintain if you intend to have a thriving company. Instead, today’s best leaders have embraced a new paradigm shift —and that is—the reality that success and great outcomes are not up to the entrepreneur alone! 

Yep, your people, the human element, are your most valuable company resource. And a collaborative team that works together like a well-oiled engine goes the distance to achieve the expected results. It’s awesome to develop teams that get the job done and done right, and even go beyond your expectations. 

But one more thing… BEWARE of being a leader who places unrealistic expectations of performance! Remember that PEOPLE HAVE LIMITS, so pushing staff and teams beyond their capacity to perform, if done all too often, causes a downward spiral. 

LEADERSHIP PRACTICE FOR TODAY: With only so many hours in the day, this is what human beings need to successfully work in your business (the short list): 

  • Realistic plans and timelines that are communicated clearly. 
  • Inspirational ideas that utilize their best skills, and contribute to move the needle toward strong results.
  • Investment in expanding their individual skills and Self-Leadership.  
  • Freedom and confidence in their ability to put forth effective action—from small tasks to big outcomes.
  • Transparency and time for connection with their leaders. Circle up frequently!
  • Invitation for frequent communication and check-ins. 
  • Well-deserved personal recognition and appreciation.
  • Encouragement to offer critical thinking and problem solving one-on-one or in meetings.
  • A heightened sense of trust and psychological safety, which allows sharing perspective and creative ideas.
  • Mutual respect and mutual responsibility.

I know you can do it! Your people, your most valuable resource, need these things from you. And as you model them, they will grow into Self-Leaders in their roles, right alongside you. 

Contact us anytime, when you feel the need for further information and guidance. 

This is leadership! 


Ahead of the Curve Journal 3d


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Nice, Not So Nice, Or Just Different?

Nice, Not So Nice, Or Just Different?


As a child, you were taught to be nice, right? As adults, we want to be nice! It makes life more stress free and fun. Being nice invites cooperation, conscious agreements and good working relationships. However, being nice also presses us to reflect on the words we speak and how we choose to say them. And since no two people are exactly alike, “nice” is viewed very differently.     

Over the past months, communication has taken on a whole new meaning. Connecting with words is literally a lifeline these dayswhether written, virtual, or in person. Words and actions that model leadership and create a safe, secure environment, are more important than ever, due to the influx of change and important decisions being made in your business.       

Your thought-out words influence and impact! They have the power to bring calm reassurance and clarity to confusion. They reaffirm the core values and direction of your company. Such words invite team members to respond and contribute, uniting—they prevent teams from feeling isolated and fearful. 

Company leaders who have confrontative, angry outbursts—or the opposite which is just as detrimental—leaders who avoid and are silent, have to raise their personal awareness and change to get the best results. Either of these default, self-protective and reactive behaviors create a lack of trust and break connection, hindering the ability to be productive and achieve business goals.

I don’t want to be too hard on you, because we know the stress and uncertainty of 2020 makes you (and me) sometimes allow words to slip off the tongue too quickly, and they can be not so nice—or you might be the opposite, a person whose silence and avoidance speaks louder than words. We’ve all been there in one way or another, depending on how we’re wired! We just don’t want to stay there!  

Building awareness of your team’s individual strengths and weaknesses, helps to tamp down emotional reactivity that we tend to aim at one another.

Humans are born with innate characteristics, and those place each of us in a particular quadrant, as well as towards the center or towards the outer edge of one of the two polarities in which my team and I coach clients. Awareness of these furthers understanding of how to communicate, reveals natural tendencies and actions, and helps each of us recognize our self-protective reactions when on the spot or under stress: 1) You have a human default to how you respond to situations, and 2) You have a human default in how you respond to people.   

These natural tendencies, when you are functioning in your secure self, strongly contribute to you being an ‘A’ player with a valuable set of skills. We call them your superpowersyour innate strengths and genius. Do you know yours?


These descriptions reveal some about you, as well as others on your team. As you read these, who comes to mind within your company?

The Professor is the super expert of the team… 

The Trailblazer is a good example of a natural entrepreneur and one not afraid of taking risks… 

The Squad Leader is the team’s alliance builder…  

The Ship Captain charters the course and draws the maps…  

Clearly, effective communication has to consider all four of these quadrant types; each one acts and reacts very differently. Take a quick glimpse of characteristics and also the hidden sabotage characteristics. Greater knowledge about “the people part,” is imperative to your business success. Superpowers of A players can become kryptonite under stress and pressure. For sure, these powers can turn on the best of us, and we come off as “not so nice.” More than once, I’ve had to admit I didn’t know everything, and embrace the team concept that includes different people with different strengths and weaknesses. 

I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to allow my trusted people, my team, to show me the writing on the wall—yep, train up and change me, or rather—me finally seeing blindspots that needed changing! It is humbling. It’s also inevitable; everyone has a hangnail or two, as they do the work that it takes to realize personal and business growth. Yet, to make this point is one of the ongoing challenges I have when I am working with CEOs/entrepreneurs—convincing them, change within the company starts with themwith you!   

Today, this brief glimpse into the four quadrants of personality, is the perfect time to learn more by clicking on this link to take the “Quiz.” See where you fall, and discover more about communicating with those on your team that are unlike you. But, first of all, know you! 

Recognizing and appreciating each other’s strengths and genius, along with natural human self-protections, is key to understanding what may come across, at times, as “not so nice,” when in reality, it’s an inborn default of self-protection.

Lastly, you might be thinking, is there a downside, or a risk, to being too nice in business?

I wish there wasn’t a risk of being too nice, but due to workplace behaviors most of us have experienced at one time or another, I have to acknowledge that some (certainly not all) human responses to “nice” bring out  the “not so nice” in others. That may be especially true now, since everyone has different life responsibilities and stressors—and some may emotionally react in “fight or flight.” We are in the same storm, but different boat, you know what I mean? 

Increasing awareness and demonstrating compassion towards others helps. Listen. Allow them to share what is causing them to struggle. At the same time, create time to hear what is working for them. Being cared about and heard helps most anyone.    

After all, in uncomfortable, sticky discussions, most of us prefer to communicate in a more personal way and communicate nicely, but in some situations, it’s tricky to not be too nice, which can allow human nature and reactivity in others to run wild and take advantage. That behavior helps no one.

I hope my short explanation makes sense, because “nice” in excess dilutes or ignores the point of the business discussion altogether—this is especially true for nice folks who struggle to speak head-on with someone about the hard issues. 

Even while being nice, a leader needs to always steer back to the conversation’s intent and the issue. Keep in mind, frankness is necessary, because this is business and issues that need a conversation and solution can’t be brushed aside or ignored.  

When communicating from a place of compassionate leadership and authority, it’s exciting to formulate skills to convey what needs to be said, the needed business outcomes, while remaining in a strong and comfortable place of nice! 

Contact us anytime, when you feel the need for further information and guidance. 

This is leadership!

Ahead of the Curve Self-Leadership journal

For a personal introduction to our coaching and methods, check out our leadership journal on






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