On Saturday night we had a family meeting.
We've spent eight weeks in lockdown: a completely novel environment. We’ve had home-schooling, working from home and managing lots of relationship and family dynamics.
Starting the journey back to ‘normal’ we realised we had to update the agreements that define how we work and interact with each other.
The kids were getting narcky, the parents getting cross and everyone was frustrated. Things just weren’t working the way they used to, the way they are meant to and it was getting worse because we were on the path back to the kinds of structures and regimes we’d had before (see HERE for a piece on the psychological impact of heading back to normal... the “dreaded third quarter”!)
The agreements around who did what and how we did them had shifted and we were operating under old agreements that were no longer valid. We just hadn’t noticed.
The same thing is occurring in our workplaces.
Making that agreement has given everyone legitimacy and a language with which to hold each other to account for how we are being with each other. It’s also less personal (so both easier and more effective) because we struck a public agreement to do so.
In many cases, the agreements we have with each other are implicit; they’ve never been articulated. Appropriate for when they were made (or just assumed) we rarely notice them because they are the water we swim in.
Instead of resisting the chaffing of agreements that have surreptitiously slipped past their used-by date, we need to go back and re-examine them.
If you do go back and let others honestly bring-up both agreements for renegotiation, both those that are both well-formed and those that have never addressed before, and you enter that process in good faith, the rewards for you and your team can be immense.
In my family it has led to a new level of clarity I think everyone is finding both a relief and a bit liberating... even if I did end up with an agreement to do the dishes!