The Four Agreements at Work – Why They Are Not Enough

Having spent eight years with don Miguel Ruiz, author of the iconic The Four Agreements, I have taught The Four Agreements in companies for more than 25 years. For those of you new to Miguel’s Four Agreements, they are:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

People in the workplace and at home gravitate to the Four Agreements because of their simplicity and power. Think how much better our workplaces would be if everyone lived these agreements.

However, much as I love the Four Agreements, they are not enough, by themselves, to transform organizations, especially in the areas of leadership, management, and company performance. There is a critical missing piece, adherence to the 94% Rule.

The 94% Rule changes much of what we have been taught about leadership and management. The data are clear that approximately 94% of the results produced in the workplace, both good and poor, are a function of the systems/processes in which people work, not the efforts of people. This means that if we want to set up our people and the company for success, we must optimize the systems. How many leaders and managers know this? Going further, how many leaders and managers have a proven process they use every day to optimize their systems? Not many.

Without systems change, no amount of practice of the Four Agreements will significantly improve outcomes of a business. Conversely, practice of the Four Agreements will enhance systems change and transformation of most businesses. For leaders and managers who want to grow their skill sets and set their teams up for success, focus first on optimizing the systems. In using the 7 New Agreements Tools for your systems optimization work, the Four Agreements are naturally sprinkled into the process.

For those who want a roadmap for making this type of change in your business, I suggest you grab a free copy of my new book, The New Agreements for Leaders. Pay particular attention to the 3rd New Agreement and the 7 Tools.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on the information in this article. What say ye?


David Dibble
David Dibble
As a 24-year-old, I founded a company with $5000 and built it into a $10M business with 200 employees. I was an early adaptor in the quality movements of the late 1970s and early 1980s, often speaking to business groups on the subject. Since 1990, I’ve been doing consulting and training, teaching leaders and managers how to be better in their roles, resulting in much higher performing businesses. My life’s work is embodied in The New Agreements for Leaders training, a systems-based paradigm shifting leadership and management model that creates significantly more value in businesses than traditional models. My latest book (I’ve written five) is The New Agreements for Leaders. The engine for implementation of this model is the 7 Tools for emerging leaders and managers. Importantly, the use of 7 New Agreements Tools for leaders and managers actually grows good and even great leaders and managers. For eight years, I worked directly with don Miguel Ruiz, author of the best selling The Four Agreements and prior to that studied both the physical science of change and the spiritual science of transformation. I’m now living in Napa with Linda, my wife of 46 years, so we can be close to our children and grandchildren. I’m learning to drink wine out of a glass rather than a pitcher and still enjoy a bad round of golf now and again.

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