This can save your Reputation
Our reputations in business are important to us. For many of us, our business is built on our reputation to deliver great outcomes and do amazing work.
However, we have all seen it, if not been part of one of ‘those’ situations….
A piece of work is agreed. Now this could be as simple as a work colleague asking another to complete a task for them, or it can be as large as bringing in a consultant to perform a large piece of work. Either way, someone needs someone else to do something for them.
The work is carried out and all appears to be running well. If you are doing the work you might even be thinking ‘Wow, this is some of the best work I’ve ever done’.
Then we get to the point where we deliver or receive the outcome of the work.
This is when sometimes… it all starts to fall apart.
The person who receives the outcome is upset and does not feel they have been given what they wanted.
The person who did the work is dumbfounded and can’t understand what has gone wrong. They worked really hard on this piece, yet….
The recipient isn’t happy.
This unfortunately can often lead to a complete breakdown of the relationship.
A breakdown of a relationship either in the workplace or with a partnership or client can be a huge cause of stress and distress.
We often fear that it will ruin our reputation and potential future revenue and client relationships. If we are on the receiving end we are normally pretty quick to blame the person who did the work and decide ‘they’ couldn’t or didn’t do the job.
The thing is…
It’s never that simple.
Did you know that misalignment of expectations is one of the biggest culprits behind workplace and contract relationship breakdowns?
I actually see this pop up with my one on one clients and having worked in corporate transformation for so many years, getting the expectations right is something I am pretty accustomed to.
So let’s look at some strategies to avoid this uncomfortable situation. No matter how big or small the task is.
The key is clarity, confirmation and communication.
- Outcomes expected. Explain exactly what you are expecting the outcome to be. Make sure this is not vague or open for interpretation. Be clear. Pictures, diagrams and videos are a great way to get things across.
- Clarify the expectation. Either say back what you are hearing or get them to explain back what they heard.
- Put it in writing. Now that it has been discussed. Document exactly what has been agreed will be carried out and delivered.
- Agreement. Depending on the situation, get this agreed. Sometimes it should even be in the contract, other times if it is a simple task request agreement is not required. This shows both sides are signing up to the same thing.
- Communication. Now these steps are not fool proof. We are still different humans with different perceptions and perspectives. Keep the communication line open, always!
Do not be afraid to clarify and ask questions.
Do not wait until you have a perfectly completed deliverable before anyone sees anything. Get over your perfection and communicate consistently along the way.
- Inspect what you expect. Constant communication, clarifying, checking in and review ensures that along the way any misalignment can be realigned before it is too late. If you are checking in on what’s expected and seeing things continuously to avoid misalignment you are in a much better place to avoid disappointment at the end.
- Document. Make sure your checks, communication and clarification are documented in case you do need to refer back to anything at the end.
Often I see people don’t take these steps because they think trust and skill are enough. Cover all bases and do these too. You won’t regret it.
Don’t be caught out by something that is avoidable.