Great Expectations at Work

This is the best blog you have ever read.

Wow! What a statement. It will be quite difficult to live up to it. In addition to overstating my writing abilities, it assumes I know exactly what else you have read which is impossible. Essentially, I am destined to fail and disappoint you.

So, why would I set your expectations so high right from the start? Surely I am setting myself up for failure. If you have read better posts then I have let you down and not met your expectations. It sounds silly doesn’t it? Yet we all do it. Expectations have a direct link to behaviour and outcome and managing these is an important part of our everyday lives and business.

How to Manage Expectations at Work A.S.A.P.

A wareness
The first step is to be aware of the expectations. It may sound obvious but if you do not know what you are waiting for or what is required of you, there will be a mismatch. If you expect a promotion after closing a big deal, make that clear. If the client wants the project to be completed in a week and you know it will take a month then tell them. Be clear about what you want and what you can deliver.

S tandards
Set expectations from the start. This gives all those involved a chance to clarify any concerns. Avoid the temptation to oversell (yourself, a product or a service) as this will hinder your reputation. Agree on time frames and delivery dates. Be willing to negotiate without compromising standards. You may however, not agree on the expectations even if they are clear to both sides. This may not be a comfortable situation but it gives you choices.

A cknowledge
If you realise that there is a mismatch, change the expectation. If new circumstances prevent you from meeting the original expectation, don’t wait for the very last minute to address this. This needs to happen before the initial deadline lapses. Honesty is the best policy.

P ointers
Communicate clearly and often. Regular updates ensure all those involved are on the same page and avoids any unpleasant surprises. Don’t adopt the policy of “no news is good news” as this leaves room for misunderstandings and suppositions.

Managing expectations is crucial no matter what business you’re in. The key is clear communication and not allowing assumptions to take over.

Do you agree with the principle of under-promise and over-deliver? What do you think is the key to managing expectations?

Photo by Flickr user Tim_Morris

28 Responses to “Great Expectations at Work”

  1. Andrew Pelt says:

    He,This is a great and usefull blog.Keep up the good work.

    • Ana says:

      Thanks for your comments Andrew. I’m very pleased you enjoy my blog. Please feel free to sign up via email or RSS to receive future updates.

  2. mak diose says:

    Hi Ana, great work you have here, i was promoted last year as a Team Lead Programmer and I discover that managing my boss’s expectation is everything. This article just give me a check list i could use to continue my career.


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