Exercises – Agreements


What are the signals that an agreement has been made?

Who forgot the nails?

You’re quite the handyman. As a teenager you built your own tree fort. You’re an adult now, married, three young children, just moved into a home built in the 1950s, offering all sorts of opportunities to apply your natural talent. 

You decide to build an outdoor deck. The spring is approaching and you simply can’t wait to get started. However, time is limited. The project’s success will depend on farsighted planning and disciplined execution. 

You’ll need an architect. Fortunately, your sister-in-law has an architect neighbor who designs houses and will create the plan. Because you’re particular about materials you want to purchase them from a specialty supplier. 

Thirdly, you’ll need some help. A few of the college-aged young men will be back in the neighborhood at the end of May. You’ll line them up as helpers. Lastly, you want your wife to keep the children away from the action so that folks can work without distraction.

So, you have more than a handful of things to organize and then to coordinate. And this means entering into and monitoring individual agreements with different kinds of people: the architect, the materials suppliers, the neighborhood college-guys, your wife. And all of this on a daily basis over several weeks.

What is key to entering into and managing those agreements? 

Topic Questions


Describe for your colleagues those situations in your culture where you feel comfortable entering into an agreement.


Describe for your colleagues those situations in your culture where you do not feel comfortable entering into an agreement.


Explain to your colleagues how much context information you need in order to decide whether you can enter into an agreement. Use specific examples where you need much information, and where you need less.


Choose a typical agreement in your culture. Describe what the ideal level of follow-up is.


On time. Within budget. Top quality. In your work it is not easy to achieve all three. When is one of those three goals more important than the other two? Explain your logic by using concrete work situations.