We all have them. They affect our personal and business relationships. Unmet or missed expectations- is that not the crux of disappointment?
Many expectations are unspoken. Others are unrealized and abstract. We often put undue pressure on ourselves and others to meet intangible expectations or moving targets. Let's talk about our expectations and how they can be better managed.
Illuminating Expectations in Five Easy Steps
1) Listen. What is needed? What is valued?
2) How can I help? Be upfront. Discuss identified needs, values, and desired outcomes.
3) Be clear. Put what you can in writing so that everyone is clear on the process. This should be a reference that is revisited as necessary. This can range from an email to a contract
4) Ask for feedback and/or provide a forum for questions and open communication.
5) Develop timeline, if prudent, for the deliverable.
For me, data collection is huge. I want to be well informed of all options. I strive to impress. Still, personal and organizations are unique and personal standards and company culture vary. I am able to understand more about individual or corporate points of interest by collecting information.
If following the aforementioned steps, then I believe success is probable. Room for error occurs when wants are confused with needs. Assumptions, even if well intended, can also disjoint the process. Both can be further clarified with communication.
It sounds so simple but this is huge. It is just what everybody thought it should be. Bravo!
Sometimes we are lucky enough to have or give more than we actually anticipated. What a tremendous feeling. It is so great that sometimes I try to low ball my expectations for this delightful surprise. This strategy troubles me a bit because the approach borders on being skeptical and I prefer to be optimistic. This also happens at times when I do not have the opportunity to collect data. The best is when I have high hopes and even my high hopes are superseded- Yes!
Nobody wants to disappoint and everyone wants to feel appreciated. Despite our best efforts, missed outcomes happen. Still, there are lessons to be learned everywhere, especially in misses, and it is part of the process.
However you set your expectations, there is room for growth. Learning never stops and it is a beautiful thing. Let us all take the time to be thankful and show appreciation for everyone’s time and effort. A sprinkle of gratefulness and graciousness can solve most.