Avoid Miscommunication by Exchanging Expectations for Agreements

© AdobeStock
If you clearly discuss what you're looking for from management and come to an agreement beforehand, then your expectations are more likely to be met.

A common CEO complaint is that their expectations are not being met. It happens often—the CEO is expecting a certain result from one or more of his team leaders and ends up disappointed when he doesn’t get what was expected and in the desired form.

This problem results from “management by expectations”, rather than management by agreement. When a certain result or level of performance is expected, but not agreed to, there will be challenges.

The details of what is expected may not be clear to the subordinate, even when you are certain they are. Take Ron, for example. The CEO of a medical education company, Ron complained about a disappointment he experienced with his entire leadership team. “They’ve been with me a long time. They know what I wanted.”

It was obvious from the disappointing result, however, that his assumption in this regard was incorrect. In fact, all of his team members thought that they had more time to give Ron what he requested. All believed they were in the process of giving he what he wanted.

“slow down and go over the details of the performance and results you are expecting.”

If your team leaders are disappointing you, two things need to change:

First, however painful it might be to you, you need to slow down and go over the details of the performance and results you are expecting. Second, you need to obtain a clear detailed agreement from your team leaders with regard to the result and the performance you are seeking.

This is management by “agreement”, which requires that you take all of the following steps for every expectation:

1. Discuss the specific details, even if you think what you’re looking for is obvious. What exactly do you want? When do you want it by? In what form do you want to receive it? When and in what form do you want progress reports?

2. Once you’ve presented the details, ask for an agreement. If you are told that it’s not possible or that there are priorities that might affect the outcome, negotiate. But get to a place where there’s an actual detailed promise made by your team leader.

3. To be certain, and to reinforce your agreement, ask if there’s anything that might get in the way of performance as agreed.

4. Ask to be advised immediately if anything comes up preventing complete performance.

5. Finally, ask if the agreement requires any assistance from you.

Follow these steps whenever you are seeking some action or some result from your team. The burden on your leaders of clear agreements—promises made with regard to specific performance—makes it much less likely that you’ll be disappointed.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.