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.

Mike's Message:


We have all spent enormous amounts of our valuable time and energy performing follow-up, rework or mop-up operations due to unclear expectations.

If we “Get Clear” on the front-end, there’s a better chance our efforts meet our customer’s true needs. This will make us more efficient and effective with our time.

As it relates to our internal efforts, email threads, messages, voice mails and smoke signals slows down everyone’s progress. Getting clarification on the front-end will help us avoid this re-work.

If you are in need of clarification at any time before getting to work on a task, never be afraid to ask questions to gain clarity. At the end of the discussions, restate what you are to do, what you expect everyone else to do and when each party needs to get their pieces completed. If everyone is aligned, commit the plan to paper to record the next steps, then circulate to the group for full transparency.

Since Jim Sage joined our IT Team he has helped and challenged us to slow down and think about the requests that we receive, and to ask clarifying questions to get Clear on the Expectations of our internal and external customers. We can then expend our efforts in ways that delivers the value that meets those needs and expectations.  It hadn’t been apparent to us that we may have been delivering solutions that we interpreted and “assumed” as being what the customer had requested, but in the end weren’t actually meeting all of the goals of their request!

In closing  …

Marc B had made some comments a few conference calls ago regarding the 86,400 seconds of time that we are all gifted with each day. Those comments have really resonated with me because my Mom is now in the twilight of her life. It illustrated the need for me to maximize the use of the finite amount of time that I have each day across all areas of my life. This includes the time that I have left with her as well as with the rest of my family. I think each and every one of you can translate this into your own personal experiences as well.

The most important Non Renewable resource that we have is time! We can’t create any more of it, but we can focus on how to efficiently use what we have.

Be sure to take a few of the seconds that you have been gifted with each day to get Clear On Expectations so that you don’t waste anyone else’s future seconds by performing follow-up, rework or mop-up operations. The effort will surely be worth it for everyone involved!

Here is a thoughtful short video regarding the value of your daily gift of 86,400 seconds: https://youtu.be/Qkq_6GlAk9M?t=1s

And remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin

Let’s go on a journey together to reduce unneeded effort!