The Four Agreements at Work – Why It’s 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 (see:, 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 and lives 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

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, at 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. Is it useful? What say ye?