Managing Expectations

On any given day as an entrepreneur we are expected to navigate staff, money and business situations with little to no insight. How do we know what to do and what to expect? It all starts with understanding what you can expect and who you can expect it from. Here’s what I’ve learned.

The only surefire way to fail is to fail to manage you expectations

The thing about people and situations is that we always expect more than we receive. That expectation leaves us open to disappointment and the disappointment leaves us open to bad business decisions. Expectations can be undone, bad business decisions not so much. Managing what we expect to get and how we expect to get it creates a safe place for our decisions to be managed.

Be clear about what you want to get and how you want to get it

Poor communication is one of the most common causes of relationship failures, and in business it’s even more important. When you have those important conversations with your partners, clients and staff remember to be clear and specific about what you want to receive, how you expect to receive it and how you are going to judge it. Don’t just expect for everyone to know what you like, tell them. The more you can articulate, the more of your needs you understand. That understanding breeds a success.

Define disappointment

As I said before I’m a momma first and this is one of those lessons that happened with my kids first, then repeated itself in work. People understand that if you don’t get something you want you will be disappointed but they don’t understand what that disappointment will look like. With kids you call it discipline, with business you call it a calculated risk. When you have outlined your disappointments, your staff understands the effects of making certain decisions. When decisions are made that you don’t approve of you are no longer disappointed. You can reframe those disappointments into the effects outlined specifically by you.

Understand that disappointment leads to clarity

Although disappointment sometimes gets a bum rap, it’s useful in business. Disappointment teaches you exactly what you want and shows you where your weaknesses are. The drive to fix what disappointed you creates actionable steps on what to avoid, what to use and how to get where you want to go.

Being an entrepreneur is quite possibly one of the most confusing journeys you can take, but what a ride. The key to finding your balance is managing your expectations. You can’t expect other people to know what you want if you don’t tell them, and you can’t expect success to come knocking at your door if you don’t know what you want it to look like.

Leona Charles

Leona Charles began SPC Business Consulting Ltd in 2007 to help businesses of all sizes get the most out of their performance. As a Six Sigma Black Belt, she brings a fresh and unique approach to Operations Consulting drawing on her 10 years of combined experience in law enforcement, government contracting, property management, customer service, non profit industry, and education.

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  1. says

    In the book “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen Covey, he states the fifth habit of highly successful people is to “seek first to understand, and then be understood” which holds true for managing expectations. I think we should try to listen more than talk. Listening gives you the ability to understand what the other party truly wants and allows you to adapt your offering to meet their needs while retaining yours.