On Clear Expectations

FUNDAMENTAL 16 – Get Clear On Expectations

One of the most frustrating things we can do, is to work hard to please a client only to find out their expectations were for something very different than we thought. We can prevent things like this by getting clear on expectations before we start the project. Here are some things to consider as we get clear on expectations:

  • Clarify – The time for us to ask questions is at the very beginning. To succeed we have to know what success looks like. That requires imagination – specifically it requires a sharing of the conditions of success from the client or other team member’s imagination. Only when we are completely clear on the end result, (and have agreement from volunteer leaders or others we are working with on the project,) should we proceed.
  • Verify – We should start the project with enthusiasm and move strongly toward our objective. At some point we need to pause and check back with our volunteer leader or other partner we are working with to make what we’re working on continues to align with their vision of success. Sometimes people are strongly attached to a mental concept but it starts to change as it is brought to life. We don’t want an unpleasant surprise at the conclusion – we need to check in.
  • Quantify – There is a saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” A serious concern when setting expectations is making sure they can be recorded (through notes, project plans or other means) and that we have a way to measure both progress and success. Sometimes we have to stretch to achieve this but it is well worth the trouble.

Thanks for taking the time to clarify expectations to help serve our clients better!