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Why you should be working with “impeccable agreements”

Ever heard of Alex MacCaw? He founded Clearbit, a company that’s done relatively well for itself to say the least.

Well, Alex wrote a handbook that describes how he manages his team.

Our favorite concept in the handbook? Impeccable agreements.

Here’s the premise: At work, we make agreements all the time. But, sometimes, people don’t keep agreements.

This is a problem. As Alex writes, “imagine what would happen if we only kept 80% of our agreements. You could safely assume that two out of ten agreements wouldn’t be kept, but which two?”

It’s easier said than done. So, an impeccable agreement relies on four pillars to work:

  • It’s recorded. In writing, somewhere.
  • It is precisely defined. So defined that a third party could know if it was finished.
  • It has a specific due date.
  • It has one directly responsible individual. Others can be involved, but there’s one person that the core responsibility falls onto.

The Manager's Handbook: Why you should be working with “impeccable agreements”

Most agreements fail because they’re missing at least one of the four elements above.

Insight: We tend to operate this way, though we don’t call it impeccable agreements, and it works remarkably well.

If you use impeccable agreements and something fails, you can point to a specific problem. There’s never nebulous blame as to why the project didn’t succeed.

How to use these: Now, you might not be a founder. But if you feel that agreements aren’t going as they should with your clients or managers, try introducing this concept to them. It’s hard to say “no” to.