August 24, 2021

How do you create living agreements?

Working agreements are the beating heart of an organization. They pump clarity and collective wisdom into every system. But, let’s be real. Just because you’ve written something down and everyone’s agreed to it (supposedly) doesn’t guarantee that it won’t be up on the shelf collecting dust after a month or two. 

Here are the top 5 reasons working agreements turn into documents no one reads: 

  1. The team doesn’t care enough about the issue; there are bigger fish to fry. 
  2. The team wasn’t involved in crafting the agreement; their voices aren’t represented.
  3. The team didn’t actually consent to the agreement, they were just told to read and follow it. 
  4. The team hasn’t been given the opportunity to provide regular feedback. 
  5. The team sees the agreement as a static, often irrelevant document vs. one that evolves with their needs. 

As you may have guessed, team involvement at all stages of an agreement’s life cycle is critical to its success. If the team isn’t involved, they aren’t engaged. And if they aren’t engaged, chances are they’re not going to uphold the agreement. 


Murmur’s three-part system is designed to involve your team every step of the way, making it easier for you to get everyone on the same page and keep them there. Here’s how it works: 

  • Insights: Observation, reflection, and conversation are important components of the agreement process. The Insights section in Murmur provides each member with their own, private space within the app where they can jot down what they’re noticing about what’s working and what’s not within the team or organization. They can also identify patterns, and share and discuss their insights with others. And when they’re ready, members can turn an insight into a new agreement draft with just one click. 
  • Murmur Method: Once a proposal is drafted and ready for the team’s input, that’s when the Murmur Method kicks in. This turn-based process helps focus participants’ attention on what really matters: gaining clarity (not certainty) through questions, improving the idea (not tearing it apart) through suggestions, and trying it out (not obsessing over getting it perfect) through consent.
  • Feedback: Just like a late summer tomato, an agreement’s quality depends on its freshness. Murmur’s feedback process is designed to keep every agreement fresh and relevant through continuous improvement. You can set expiration dates so you’re revisiting agreements regularly, pulse the team for ideas on what needs to change, and archive agreements that just aren’t working anymore - all while keeping a history of how your agreements have evolved over time.
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