Always manage Expectations

I bought the domain Then I told you there would be #40mantras. Now we’re on our 11th mantra. But you know where I’m headed, right? Know how?

The reason you know where I’m headed is because until I do something that breaks the promises I’ve made you, or until I make a new declaration, everything I’ve done until now has been to shape your expectations towards one goal – to read 40 short posts. Not 42, not 39.

That’s the art of expectation management.

I say art because the reality is that you can’t look at your mate and simply say, “I told you the day we married that I loved you. I’ll let you know if it changes.” At least you can’t do that and stay married. 🙂

The art comes from finding and figuring out all the ways you can leverage to reinforce the messages you’re trying to share with others.

It’s critical when you get ready to give someone a quote for work.

It’s critical when you prepare a client for when a project will be complete.

It’s critical when you get ready to collect a payment.

It’s critical when you get ready to deliver support or help someone with an issue.

If, for any of these events, you wait until the last minute and hope that they’ll remember that first conversation when you laid out your expectations, then all you’re doing is using hope as a strategy. And guess what? Hope is not a strategy.

I use the marriage example above and find that it’s helpful for my teams. Even if they’re only dating. They clearly understand that in any relationship, learning to communicate well, and to reinforce key messages (like, “I love you boo!”) will do a lot more good than not doing a thing.

In the same way, in whatever context you find yourself in – with managers, with staff, with partners and with customers – always manage expectations. It will develop bonds of trust that will help everything get done easier.
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