Managing Expectations… and Perceptions

I was speaking with my good friend Tom not long ago, and he said something to me that really resonated. Tom is a business owner, and the definition of a “straight shooter”. He doesn’t tolerate people who waste his time or who don’t deliver as promised… and he is not afraid to say so. We were speaking about a few things on the phone, and he shared a story of a contractor he was working with who never, ever seemed to be able to meet a deadline. And Tom’s point to me was simple… “Just manage my expectations.”

Expectations and perceptions matter in business. And in many cases, perception matters just as much as reality. Our ability to manage expectations and perceptions will contribute directly to our credibility as a professional or business owner. People want to work with professionals who simply deliver what they say they will deliver. We respect people who do a good job, of course. But we respect even more those who do good work AND and who manage expectations. If a deadline needs to be missed, so be it. For most people this is not a problem, as long as there is clear communication.

People hate working with people who just cannot ever deliver what was promised, in the time frame it was promised. If you develop a reputation as someone who never finishes things on time, or who always promises the unrealistic and then always disappoints, you will be constantly chipping away at your own credibility. And eventually that will hurt you in many ways. It could cost you a job or a promotion or a project lead. It could hurt sales. It could prevent you from getting the resources you need for your team of your project. A loss of credibility is like playing the house in blackjack. You may get ahead for a little while, but eventually the house always wins. You need your credibility if you want to accomplish anything in the professional world. And it is hard to have any credibility if you always disappoint and don’t communicate.

We’re focused on simple ideas this week at The Latimer Group. And on a beautiful September day, we’re thinking about honest communication that manages expectations. And we’re encouraging you to think about being a professional who not only does good work, and who delivers as promised, AND who communicates clearly and proactively when that becomes impossible.

Think about how powerful that would be for your professional brand.

Have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Brett Slater

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.