Expectations as Clear as Mud

“Most of the time, your team members will do exactly what is expected of them, if they could just figure out, what that is,” I explained.  “When you observe underperformance, look for the cause.  It is usually in one of these five areas.”

  • Make the expectation (of output) clear.
  • Ensure the availability of required resources.
  • Validate the required skills and sufficient practice for the task.
  • Match the persons capability with the capability required for the task (measured in time span).
  • Ensure the person places a high value on the work (interest or passion for the work).
  • Ensure the person engages in reasonable behaviors required to complete the task.

“But I told my assistant that I needed the report ASAP,” Carolyn objected.  “When I went to find out the status, I found out the report had not even been started.”

“Let’s work through the list.  The expectations were clear to you, but were they clear to the team member?  What does ASAP mean?  You needed the report for the meeting on Friday, so ASAP could mean – as soon as possible before Friday.

“When I look at expectations, clarity of expectations, I think QQTR.  Quantity-Quality-Time-Resources.  If I miss any of these elements, then the expectation is not clear.”

  • What is the quantity of the output?
  • What is the quality standard (so I know what to count and what not to count)?
  • What is the time deadline, specifically, date and time?
  • What resources are available, or not available?


2 thoughts on “Expectations as Clear as Mud

  1. Tom

    It’s all about how to create total accountability. It requires patience. It means you need to follow up — perhaps more than you should (or would like to). And accountability means doing what you said you would do, as you said you would do it, when you said you would do it — period! Here are the keys I use everyday —
    – Be the model of accountability in all areas of your life
    – Paraphrase or repeat all verbal requests
    – Always agree on the completion date and time for all delegated work
    – Keep track of all delegated work
    – Insist on results with no surprises

    This gift was shared with me in one of my Vistage meetings by Mike Scott.

  2. Pingback: Small business blog posts we liked this week | Canadian Entrepreneur Training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.