How Did That Happen? How to Avoid Performance Surprises

Hire the Best - Use for Web applications, emails, etcIn church the other day I overheard a conversation. “You appear to be happy and content most of the time, how do you do that”,a congregation member asked of the minster?  “I have no expectations of people”, he responded.

While this may work for the minster, listening in on this conversation put into perspective for me why leaders frequently feel disappointed in the performance of their people. It’s the expectations we have.

If you are like me, sometimes you feel at a loss, wondering what else you can do to get others to deliver on expectations. In spite of your best efforts, you get surprised on the results, results you probably felt would be easy to obtain.

Roger Connors and Tom Smith, authors of How Did That Happen, offer some questions to ask yourself that will provide insight into learning how you can avoid the unpleasant “surprises” that plague almost every project and discover the key to getting things done through others.

Here are the questions you can ask yourself to see if you are effectively setting expectations:

  • Do people clearly understand the expectations I have of them?
  • Do I find myself asking the question “How did that happen?” when the results people deliver disappoint me?
  • Do I hold positive and candid accountability conversations with people when they don’t meet my expectations?
  • Do I communicate the “why” in a compelling way whenever I ask someone to do something for me?
  • Do I create and maintain alignment by taking the time to persuade and convince others to enroll in my “cause?”
  • Do people meet deadlines and keep the commitments they have made to me?
  • Do people ask me to re-explain and clarify what I really need from them?
  • Do I usually discuss the boundaries associated with what I am asking people to do ahead of time?
  • How Did That HappenRather than settle for merely getting people to comply with my requests, do I work to capture their “hearts and minds?”
  • Do I use “persuasion power” rather than “position power” to create alignment when I detect that people don’t agree?
  • Do people seem comfortable with the way I hold them accountable?
  • Do the people I depend upon follow-through on the things I need them to do?
  • Do I inspect what I expect?
  • Do people pro-actively report their progress on the things I ask them to do?
  • Do I effectively hold others accountable?

It has been my experience that in most cases, the expectations we have of other people are known by us but not communicated to them.  Either we expect that they will just know or read our minds.  Let people know what you expect of them.

At Performance Group, we work with The Revenue Accelerator, an onboarding program that clearly communicates what you expect your new salesperson to know, do and use in their first ninety days.  Learn more at:  Get My New Hire Selling Sooner