We’ve always heard that’s it’s best to “over-promise and under-deliver” – no wait … that’s “under-promise and over-deliver.” In our world of seemingly endless responsibilities and with them, high expectations to succeed, it’s easy to lose sight of a very important concept that will keep us focused and on track. It’s our Exclamation of the week: Be Clear on Expectations!
I know what you’re thinking – “everyone knows that!” But how many times have you experienced a situation where you didn’t take the time (and make the effort) to discuss expectations up front, establishing mutually understood objectives, deadlines, and deliverables? We all get pre-occupied with our long lists of tasks and neglect working through details of the project immediately in front of us.
When this happens, the result is usually a disappointing outcome for yourself, client, coworker, friend, or family member. Whether the situation is work or home related, being clear on expectations is a valuable life principle that will help you avoid mistakes, embarrassment, and disappointment.
Clearly defining expectations is especially important when establishing project costs, timelines, and service deliverables. Nothing is worse than being surprised by a situation that is the result of a lack of clarity. One of the most difficult situations for me can arise when a deliverable is in the hands of a vendor (printed material, etc.) and I can’t directly control its completion. The client is awaiting delivery and we are unable to move it up to accommodate them. Having a clear expectation regarding delivery dates removes anxiety and eliminates surprises.
We emphasize the importance of clarity throughout our organization – and we do it every day.
So, starting today, make it a priority to establish clarity in everything you do. Things go much smoother (and are less stressful) when everyone understands what is expected of all parties.