What Are Your Expectations?

expectationsAs I wrote back in February, expectation management is important in all areas of your work:

"A failure to match what people expect with what they get can be disastrous for your brand. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep."

That post was focused on managing and meeting customer expectations, but what about clients and colleagues?

I started working on a new account recently, which got me thinking about the expectations I have of myself, my colleagues and the companies for whom we work.

Six primary expectations come to mind:

  1. Communicate well: Communication can make or break a project. I’d much rather hear a little ‘too much’ about things than not enough.
  2. Be proactive: If you see a need, what can we do to meet it? If you need help, seek it out. If you want to work on something, let me know.
  3. Be accountable: If you’re assigned a task, you’re expected to do it.
  4. Meet deadlines: Every action item has deadlines for a reason. Sometimes it will require working late to meet them.
  5. Work as a team: Celebrate together; hunker down together.
  6. High quality work: If you wouldn’t stake your reputation on it, don’t hand it to me as a final piece of work.

When working with clients it’s equally important and, to a large extent, the same principles apply.

Setting expectations like these at the outset helps to hold everyone accountable. Sometimes you will need to explicitly state them; other times, after working with people for a while, they will understand them implicitly.

Those are some of the key expectations that I like to set, both internally and externally; what are yours?

  • I consider synergy between you and the client, very important. I have said no to potential clients because I knew it wasn’t going to work. No fit, like putting a round peg in a square hole.

    Just my loonies worth!

  • Brad Buset

    One of my expectations for any team I work with is honesty. Someone, somewhere is going to make a mistake, be it large or small, it’s going to happen. Acknowledge it, find out why it happened, then learn from it and use it to improve yourself and our work for clients. You can’t do that unless everyone is honest about their work.

  • I’m glad you wrote this. I hate to say it but going through this list I can see how the team I work with is struggling. The corporate environment is one where information is witheld to virtually exculsion and taking intiative in seen as trying to upsurp someone else.

    Sadly, if your list was adopted from the very begining the level of commitment and enjoyment you would see in the workplace (not to mention quality of work) would be substantially higher.

    Why is it in 2008 some of the expectations we have seem more like 1951? This is something I’ve been discussing with collegues in NFPs and Agencies as well. Sadly, this is more common than most would probably think.

  • Dave – great post. My one most important rule for our team is this: “do what you say you will do”.