In my role as a company moderator and facilitator for excellent business processes, my first task was a surprising one. I was asked to organize the relocation of our newly spun off company into our own common building.
I had received the order on December 15th, 1998. And the move-in should have taken place then by April 1st of the following year. It took me two weeks to understand that the steering committee had false expectations of this. Everyone thought on April 1st we would come to a super new furnished building with modern meeting rooms, video conferences globally, a great canteen and so on. But at that time, not even the interior walls for the offices had been mounted. Unfortunately, the management expectations were completely unrealistic.
So my first task was to make those misconceptions clear to the steering committee. I described the situation to them and promised them three things:
In each office, on April 1, there would be
❇ firstly, a desk,
❇ secondly, a functioning telephone and
❇ thirdly, a connected computer.
We needed more time for everything else.
This, of course, was hotly debated. My boss broke the ice: “I think, Bernd is right. Agreed. But that’s what we’re going to measure you by now!”.
⏭ Expectation management is at the beginning ⏮
It is worthwhile to take a position at an early stage if you consider something unrealistic, and validate what is possible and what is wishful thinking. If you don’t, you’ll always suffer later. Because then the false expectations are in the world.
Of course, you have to find the right words so as not to be perceived as a naysayer or an obstructor. It is about making it clear that this is a realistic assessment.
Later in my role as a supervisor, I always saw it as an essential task to take my employees with me on the path to become independent in order to develop a clever expectation management in the sense of “honesty lasts the longest”.
➡ Avoiding or facing it? What experiences have you had with this?
If you are interested, I mentor and coach managers in situations when difficult decisions are pending and / or want to be mediated.