9. Get Clear On Expectations.

Create clarity and avoid misunderstandings by discussing expectations upfront. Establish mutually understood objectives and timelines for all projects, action items, and commitments. Set expectations for others and ask when you're not clear on what they expect from you.

Jim's Message:


When Marc asked The ELT to select Fundamentals to write about, ‘Getting Clear on Expectations’ was one that jumped off the page for me. Over the years I’ve found without clear expectations the probability of satisfying my internal or external customers dropped measurably. The issue is, getting clear takes time and most of us are inclined to move to action as soon as possible, which shortcuts this important fundamental.

Marc wrote 40 weeks ago “I challenge you as individuals and teams to step back from the day-to-day fast pace and get clear on the expectations before we react…”. I believe we all would agree that slowing down and listening to understand is always time well spent. In addition, we should also take time to confirm expectations in writing, for two reasons. First, good writing makes good thinking – the very process of writing down expectations exposes gaps and or gray areas in what was discussed. Second, we all have imperfect memories. If we don’t confirm expectations in writing, the probability of future conflicts with our customers or colleagues increases significantly.

Over the next several weeks you’re going to hear more about using the Required Date in Eclipse. The sole purpose of the Required Date is to document the customer’s expectation. By capturing the customer’s expectation we can then measure how well we perform against it. If you know we can’t meet the customer’s initial Required Date I would encourage you to work closely with the customer to revise their expectation before moving the Required Date in Eclipse. The actual Ship Date compared to the Required Date will become a critical measure in our Perfect Order tracking system.

When we manage expectations with care, great things happen:

  • We build trust.
  • We nurture healthy and rewarding relationships.
  • We enhance satisfied customers, both external and internal.
  • Our value grows and everyone wants to work with us.
  • Famous and therefore, all of us prosper.

I’m confident that intentionally investing our time to Get Clear on Expectations, will be one of the best time investments that we make in our lives. Good listening … clear, confirmed expectations will result in delighted customers!