Sample Agreements

Group agreements are a critical first step to creating safety with a group.  Agreements are group-generated norms, for how we will work together and treat each other.  Agreements make us feel safe because they allow us to predict what is going to happen and make things explicit (or clear)..  Agreements are NOT rules (i.e. everyone must bring pencil and paper).[i]  Instead they are entirely about creating emotional and physical safety for your group.  It is also important to note that agreements are not created or enforced by the leader or facilitator alone but by the entire group.

Below is a list that I will be populating of agreements that groups I have worked with have used and what they mean.

[i] Youth Development Institute Training Binder ©2010

  1. tjplew says:

    Thank you for supplying this collection of agreements! I believe my 4-H County Council would be more effective if we developed an agreement instead of rules to manage expectations of one another.

  2. I like…..”Don’t ick my Wow!”
    Nice collection of agreements

  3. Scott Mautte says:

    Agreement #6 Have Fun

    I think that this agreement speaks loudly for itself but you may be wondering why I think this should be on a list of agreements especially for a business meeting. I answer with another question, why not? In order for a meeting to be effective do we really need to be miserable? I think that we can have fun even in doing the serious work of the day and meetings would run a lot smoother if we just had a little fun in our meetings.

  4. Scott Mautte says:

    Agreement #5 Confidentiality

    This agreement hits on the need for the meeting place to be emotionally safe. When people are taking risks and putting thoughts out there it is important that they have confidence that stuff isn’t going to be blabbed all over the place.

  5. Scott Mautte says:

    Agreement #4 Do a few things great, rather than many things good

    Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” states that “good can be the enemy of great”. The spirit of this agreement stems from the thought that the group will focus their attention on giving their best work to make a few things great rather than a bunch of things good.

  6. Scott Mautte says:

    Agreement #3 Listen as Hard as you Advocate

    This agreement is about making sure that we are actively listening to other participant’s perspectives. So often we are very passionate to get our own viewpoint across and we fail to pay attention when a differing view point is presented. This agreement reminds us to listen as passionately as we advocate for our own perspective.

  7. Scott Mautte says:

    Agreement #2 Step Up & Step Back

    Step up and Step Back is all about making sure that EVERYONE has an opportunity to contribute to the conversation. Some of us are on the shyer side and would just sit back and listen to everyone else share throughout a meeting. Some of us like to talk! We have a story, illustration, comment or learning and love to share them all. This agreement keeps the group mindful that each of us have something positive and necessary to contribute to the learning community so shyer people are agreeing to STEP UP and share and those of us who are more talkative are agreeing to STEP BACK and allow the space for others to contribute as well.

  8. Scott Mautte says:

    Agreement #1 Don’t “Ick” my “Wow”

    This by far is my favorite agreement. This has to do with the idea that everyone has ideas, some of them good and some of them not so good. When a group is brainstorming it is important that people feel safe to throw out ANY idea without fear of being put down or dismissed. This agreement is about reminding the group not to shoot down someone’s idea that they didn’t particularly like (Ick!) that the person sharing thought was great (Wow!).

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