Setting Clear Expectations

“Don’t hear what I didn’t say!”

“…Well, I wouldn’t make assumptions about what you meant if I knew your real expectations.”

Ouch - Right?

Often as leaders of our organization, we don’t have an appreciation for the details; all of the things that it takes to make something happen.

(And, my team just said to themselves - “understatement of the year!”)

If you’re an achiever like me, you live to make progress. To get things done so that you feel progress is being made.

Which is exactly where the problem lies when creating expectations of when something will get done.

Typically I see this unfold in two ways: 1) Unspoken and 2) Unrealistic.

Let’s break these down:

Unspoken - Both the business leader and the team can be at fault here. But for very different reasons. Often, the business leader assumes that the expectations are clear, so they just don’t press for clear expectations. Ironically, your team may be doing the exact opposite, but for very different reasons. Your team may not know all of the answers. And for fear that you may hold them to the first answer they give…well, they avoid setting any clear expectations. Both are progress killers.

Unrealistic - Again, both the leader and team are guilty as charged here. The business leader, because he or she has no appreciation for the details, sets a completely unrealistic timeline. Or, the team, not having thought through all of the details, sets an expectation and then just keeps moving the deadline. Errr.

In the end, we all want to move the ball forward.

Try these few tips to help make the expectations of where you need to take your company clear, practical and actionable:

1. Tell your team - This is what I’d like to have done and these are my expectations for the finished product. Since I don’t have an appreciation for the details, help me understand all that will go into making this happen in this timeframe.
2. Monitor Progress - Your team will get new information. Make sure you are consistently monitoring the progress so that you’ll know how they impact your expected outcome and timing.


3. Get Them Help - Expectations without a clear path to the resources required to make them happen are…well…just aspirations. Aspirations placed on a team without a clear path for how you’ll get there are perceived as unfulfilled promises. Avoid being a visionary that never achieves by getting your team the help they need.

2019 will be here before you know it. Now is the time to start laying our your simple, practical and actionable plan that set the right expectations for what you know you and your team can achieve.

Hear more about this topic on the upcoming Caged Vision Podcast, dropping 10/18/18, and sign-up here to receive weekly updates and bonus material.