Are you running a business or service and you want to meet your customer’s expectations, so they are satisfied, keep coming back and may even recommend you? Are you working in a group and want to do your part, fulfilling your component of the project and being affirmed for it? Or are you simply trying to follow up in your promise to family or friends so that you maintain your part in the relationships?
While it seems obvious that we would want to meet the expectations of both ourselves and others, it is never a given. What do we need to know and do to make sure we are on track to meet expectations?
- If we hope to meet expectations, we need to know exactly what they are. Before you say, “well duh”, let me assure you that in my work as a leader, coach and consultant, I am constantly asking for specific expectations, and often find they are not there. For example, I ask for the job description the person is working from, and there is none, or just a few lines of generic babble. Not helpful! If we do not realize what these expectations are, we will have difficult time showing we have met them. Do you know specifically what is expected of you, so when you have accomplished it, you can point to it? We always begin by realizing as explicitly as possible what is to be expected.
- If we hope to meet expectations, we need to determine if they are reachable. Specific objectives and goals are great, but are they realistic? Can we really increase sales by 20%? Are we comfortable in saying we will be able to make those payments? Are we simply guessing how many will buy what we are building? This is not to douse anyone’s hopes or dreams, but nothing deflates more than setting the bar so high that we cannot possibly reach it. After we realize our expectations, we need to analyze them – how realistic are they? The acrostic SMART goals is wisely incorporated here: Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Realistic/ Timeline attached.
- Finally, if you hope to meet expectations, you have to have agreement with your team, group, family – whoever you are working with to fulfill those expectations. Again, it may seem simple, but how many times do we get into the project, believing we have buy-in, only to discover we are on our own? This may be because we have assumed others agreed (Did we ask? Did we confirm?) or because we believe others will simply buy in as we go along. Some of my greatest frustrations and failures can be linked to my proud yet foolish assumption others were following where I was leading. How much better if I would have initiated that conversation from the outset and be assured there was agreement from the team, group, family I was working with. We must verbalize our expectations when we work with others, and make sure we are synthesizing together. We may have buy in, or we may need to negotiate. Better to work out those agreements on the front end, and avoid the surprise of team revolt or mutiny down the road.
Do you want to meet expectations? Of course we want to meet expectations, and have everyone happy. That’s why following the simple plan of realizing – analyzing – verbalizing and synthesizing can provide great guidelines to help us meet expectations. For more help, read “What do you expect?”, and learn how to incorporate this simple plan into your projects.
© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014
“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press (www.scarletcordpress.com).