You work hard and so does your team. Sometimes, a mis-alignment of communication, interpretation, or expectations occurs. It happens.

It’s not a bad thing even if it happens once in awhile. But when it becomes a frequent occurrence, you begin to question your team’s ability to execute or your ability to communicate.

Then again, it might be another issue. You haven’t set clear communication, timing, and delivery standards with each of your team members (and in-turn having them matriculate it down to their staff).

It sounds hokey, but a simple contract (formal agreement) between parties makes this all go away. Why?

It gives everyone in your organization the ability to measure themselves against a pre-specified standard. And that’s important. If there is no bar, no ruler, no finish line, some (if not all) your team members will begin to develop their own measures. Or worse, they will aimlessly work without any sense of direction (it happens!).

Establishing a contract is simple. Some areas that might be included:

  • How often you will communicate with them and how they should communicate with you.
  • Who does what, where, and with whom.
  • Clearly communicating the Why of every situation and getting buy-in.
  • Clear task, activity, project and initiative deadlines.
  • Simple ‘business rules’ to guide a project.

It could be written (a set of simple statements on a wall) or verbally built into your organization’s consciousness — your choice. I know Nordstrom’s has a famous card they distribute to all of their employees — it’s powerful. Check it out. (Also check out The Nordstrom Way)

If you have these in place, you’ll see your organization run more smoothly. If not, a subtle undercurrent will develop of crossed expectations, bad communication and missed deadlines.

I’ve been there and it’s not pretty.

What type of ‘contract’ have you established with your team?