- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (November 9, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1576751791
- ISBN-13: 978-1576751794
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,552,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of Agreement: 10 Essential Elements for Getting the Results You Want Paperback – November 9, 2002
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"Levine delivers on his agreement to provide a vision and practical tools that turn business and conflicts into partnerships." -- Nina B. Link, CEO, Magazine Publishers of America
"The Book of Agreement contains all the models you'll ever need to protect questionable relationships and nurture strong relationships." -- Alan Weiss, PhD., author of The Ultimate Consultant
"This handy guide is a must-have for any person's shelf. Levine explains the art and science of agreement beautifully." -- Beverly Kaye, coauthor of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em:Getting Good People to Stay
"We all want agreement. Here's how to get it and keep it and work it." -- Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the #1 New York Times best selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul®
About the Author
Stewart Levine is the founder of Resolution Works, a consulting and training organization dedicated to providing skills and ways of thinking people will need to thrive in the next millennium. He spent ten years practicing law before becoming an award winning marketing executive at AT&T where he was recognized as a pioneer intrapreneur. Companies he has worked for, in the US include American Express, Chevron, ConAgra, Deloitte & Touche, EDS, General Motors, Oracle, Safeco, and University of San Francisco.
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Top customer reviews
I would question some of the ethical implications of Mr. Levine's argument. He seems to believe that fairness is an emotional state as opposed to something that can be established as a matter of fact. He also brings into question the relevance of social and moral systems based on reason (which he calls "old habits"), advocating instead for the satisfaction of individual or group wants as such. Together, these things seem as though they would tend toward basically arbitrary agreements. I am not sure that this system will consistently result in meaningful, positive, or ethical agreements. I would ultimately recommend Getting to Yes and the other books from the various experts with the Harvard Negotiation Project over this one.
As an aside, this book is rather poorly edited with numerous writing errors that could have been resolved by better proofreading.
A must read for anyone trying to get the most out of relationships.
Stuart Levine's first book "Getting to Resolution" is the best I've read on resolving conflict. I think I know a thing or two about agreements. So I read the review copy of this new book, supplied by his publicist, with mixed emotion. I know and love Stewart, we have the same publisher, I'm thrilled his great second book is out, and he taught me good stuff about resolving conflict (we also shared an excellent glass of Merlot last year in Santa Fe, but that's a story for another day). But, just what can Levine teach this veteran partnering consultant about making and keeping agreements?
A thing or two, it turns out.
Let's start with what's critical to learn if you don't already know it.
Consider Levine's Principle #2, "We work and live in a 'sea' (context) of agreements." Do you realize all relationship behavior is governed by implicit or explicit agreements? Someone can't even push your hot-buttons unless you and they have established by implicit agreement that "those" buttons are indeed hot and that you will explode if they are tweaked in a certain way. And you know "Shhh, don't tell a soul"
implicitly means "keep this to yourself as well as I'm keeping it to myself." Even a chain of command is full of implicit agreements about norms like who can and can't tell whom what to do, who can and can't evaluate another's performance, who can and can't make decisions, etc. If you've worked in one hierarchy, you pretty much can move from organization to organization and quickly grasp the nuances of the culture. Why? Because you understand, experientially, the sea of implicit agreements.
You buy into, if not invent, these implicit agreements, and then live by them whether you like it or not. It's your own doing. So you might then consider Levine's Principle #3, "We never learned the essential elements of an effective agreement." I believe people clamor for control because they lack the learned power of agreement-making. It's much easier to just boss folks around. But it's far more powerful and rewarding to make what Levine calls "agreements for results." That's a lot of what TeamWisdom (a term from my work) is about.
So what do you do? You learn the essential elements of an effective agreement, then put them to use. Repeat. Improve. Repeat. Improve. Levine shows you how.
Just as he did in his first book, Levine gives us the foundation first and the practice second. He starts with the Basic Law of Agreement ("Collaboration is established in language by making implicit and explicit agreements"), then offers ten principles, and then ten elements of effective agreements. Elements include things like roles, time and value, measures of satisfaction, etc. Later in the book, he uses these ten elements to fashion templates and illustrate agreements for different situations (like employment agreements, sales agreements, performance appraisal agreements, feedback agreements, and many more).
The strength of this book is in combining his original concepts with his applications. For instance Levine identifies the difference between agreements for protecting your interests and agreements for results. The first is what you hire lawyers to do in writing contracts; he knows,
Levine practiced law for years. He shows you how to make agreements for results and protect your interests. Levine also provides application after application after application. More than half the book is devoted to templates for agreements for results in organizations, associations, communities, families, cultures, marriages, and more. Be sure to practice the new Levine U MBA -- managing by agreement. You'll also want to read his section on training your lawyer how to make agreements for results.
The Book of Agreement makes a terrific companion to "Teamwork Is An Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility"