positive and negative aspects of what happens when you do manage expectations and don't manage expectations.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


They asked for pajamas and they got pajamas. They are ugly and polyester-laiden, but it's what my girls wanted most for Christmas. So my wife (a.k.a. Santa) went out and bought a Snow White night gown and Cindarella PJs. And you know what, they were extatic that Santa brought them what they wanted.

What's that got to do with anything?

Well, if your client asks for green, you'd better show them green. It might be the right thing to do for that particular project, but at least look at it and show them green. Then show them what you believe is right. Isn't that what you are getting paid for?

People appreciate being heard, really heard. And best of all, people are generally more flexible once you've addressed their needs.

Happy 2006!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Making a list and checking it twice

A really good line from a really good Christmas song.

Make sure that you do this every day with everyone involved in your life.

The most important people to do this with is your family and loved ones. Then work.

Because "he knows when you've been sleeping, he know when you're awake, he know when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake...

Happy holidays to you all.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

No surprises unless it's supposed to be a surprise.

Everyone's heard a story or two about the horrors of home remodling projects. It's a line of business that could benefit hugely from my topic of managing expectations.

Imagine this, you are getting your kitchen redone and the following happens:

1. The contractor was starting to run into some problems from his estimate. They immediately communicated to you what was happening with your house, showed it to you and then talked you through the implications of what were discovered before ASSUMING they should just push forward.

2. The job was going to take a lot longer to do it right than originally anticipated. They start communicating to you immediately why the job is going to take XX days longer to complete.

3. Materials were going to be coming in later than expected. Why? "Because I forgot to order them. I'm sorry for that." would be a very reasonable answer. Not something like, the dog ate my order or the vendor I ordered them from got the wrong part. Just own up to your mistakes.

I am not saying that all contractors or folks in the home remodling business are bad. I've recently had three great experiences with floor people (Armstrong), a wall paper stripper (Susan Hunnicut) and tuckpointing/Chimney repair (Jason Phelps). If there were any problems, they communicated clearly with me on what needed to happen and why. They did a fantastic job of managing not only my expectations, but also my wife's.

No matter what the news is to anyone, good or bad, manage their expectations.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What are we doing today after breakfast?

My wife has to manage the expectations of our 3+ year old everyday. There's three critical times of day that she has to do this:

In the morning (right after she eats her "banilla" yogurt) the question is posed, "what are we doing after breakfast?" and Kathy responds with one of two things, "We are going to _______ to play" or "I don't know, what would you like to do?". Immediately there's a positive response from our daughter because Mary's expectation has been met one of two ways. The same thing always happens right after naps and also right before bed. Day in, day out. Without fail.

If you think about different people you have to encounter on a daily basis and your typical interactions with them, think about how you can meet/manage or exceed their expectations. Think about the pain points that could happen throughout your day and where you could set aside some simple reminders to help with this.

If your meeting the expectations of others around you your day will generally go well.