While my son was in India, he called to say, “Mom, you wouldn’t believe how different it is here. There are cars six deep, all blowing their horns and driving around people who are sleeping in the street, missing them by inches, with cows running up and down the road between all of it. And there are no road signs at all, and no lines on the roads!”
That pattern of behavior describes most workplaces! They have their own traffic jams and people sleeping in the way, right? And they have their own version of cows running up and down the street. And worst of all is that last observation—no instructions, no signs, and no lines.
Imagine if you woke up this morning and the streets on the way to work were like my son described—no lines on the road, no street lights, no stop signs and no laws?
That’s what your workplace would be like if it had no agreements.
Fortunately, there’s no such workplace. Workplaces are filled with agreements, formal and informal, spoken and unspoken. Some are obvious—be on time, don’t steal, don’t divulge confidential information.
Some others are less obvious but just as serious. Don’t undermine others with passive-aggressive behavior, for example. If you don’t have an agreement to disallow those unhealthy behaviors, then you have an agreement to allow them.