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Life Together

Working Norms and Public Agreements

Public Agreements

Public agreements (Kegan and Lahey, 2001) help us uphold our norms by providing a way to address the typical issues that arise in community. Use these as needed to make sure the space we create together is protected and productive. We'll start with two, but others may emerge in our life together.

Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. L. (2001). How the way we talk can change the way we work: Seven languages for transformation (1st ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Squirrel Rule

If you think someone is off topic you can say “Squirrel.”

This code word is a facilitation technique to help keep us on task and focused.

Be gentle in your use, please.

Chatham House

“When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”


Working Norms


Listen to build trust and understanding—acknowledge/honor what others share 


Respect each other—be attentive/humble/responsive; extend positive regard


Engage diversity—seek and honor diverse experiences, backgrounds, perspectives   


Negotiate issues constructively—nurture cooperative problem solving


Appreciate contributions—seek and acknowledge alternative possibilities, cite others when you use their ideas


Smile and have fun – enjoy the opportunity to work in community

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