Impeccable Agreements & Consequences

*This playbook is directly inspired by Matt Mochary’s “Impeccable Agreements” philosophy.*

Defining Impeccable Agreements

Impeccable Agreements are:

  1. Precisely defined
  2. Fully agreed to by all relevant people
  3. Written down
  4. Have no room for error

Precisely defined means that a successful follow-through of the agreement is easily observable by a disinterested third party.

For example, “We’ll start back up again after lunch” is not a precisely defined agreement. A participant could have lunch, take a 2-hour walk, and then come back to the meeting and still technically have adhered to the “start after lunch” requirement.

An Impeccable Agreement would be: “It is 12:04 pm now. We will start the meeting again at 1:00 pm. We all agree to be in our seats and present prior to 1:00 pm.” A third party can easily determine if everyone was sitting in their seats and not doing other things by 1:00 pm.

An Impeccable Agreement should be written down in a location that is easily accessed by all participants. The only exception is when the agreement is so small, or so regular, that all participants are sure not to forget what the exact agreement is.

Never assign someone an Asana task without them agreeing to it verbally or in writing. I often will create an agreement with no due date, assign it to someone on Asana, and Slack them the link to ask them to put in a due date they deem reasonable. If it needs discussion, it should be a meeting issue.

That’s the easy part. The hard part is when someone doesn’t follow the agreement.

What happens when Impeccable Agreements are missed?

It is fine for a person to not make agreements that they can’t keep. That is OK. What is not OK is to make agreements that they don’t keep.

Initial discussion:

If individuals miss impeccable agreements, feedback is discussed and documented.

Repeated Issues:

If missing agreements becomes a habit, the manager generally moves to a more serious performance management process or conversation.

Writing habits

When someone misses an impeccable agreement, they should write down a habit that they should form to prevent them from missing an agreement again in a similar way in the future.

They should write this down as a comment in the Asana task and say it out loud in front of everybody if it’s in a group meeting.

See this article for a more holistic definition of impeccable agreements.