Expectations and a Mirror

Previously published in PI World

 

It’s a great time to be in this business! Client projects continue to get more complex with multiple versions and complex mail lists, and printing requirements that have not let up. Timelines continue to creep shorter and the ability to get all of the information needed up front remains a challenge. These challenges allow those willing to work smart the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the pack. To deliver on that differentiation, expectations for your team need to be clear so they can execute like a well-oiled machine.

 

No Surprises Here

Setting expectations for your team has never been more important. What’s expected, or “what you will tolerate,” needs to be established so that the team members can effectively work together and best understand what their role is, what their priorities should be and how to leverage the best practices of the organization. If there’s a cloud of uncertainty, it can become a huge distraction to everyone, adds to the drama, and at the end of the day, impedes progress and your ability to deliver.

 

What is Accountability?

OK, so you set the expectations and make it very clear as to what everyone’s role and responsibility is. In a sense, determining the expectations are relatively easy. Effectively communicating them seems to be a bit harder and holding people accountable can be very difficult for some. My conversations with business leaders usually come down to this, “what should I do if someone isn’t doing their job or meeting the expectations that we’ve set?” Sounds like a basic question, right. If it was a delivery driver that couldn’t get the addresses straight, they probably wouldn’t be around for long. How about the sales rep who sells, but doesn’t follow the procedures that have been established for everyone to follow? Part of the answer lies in the culture of your business. What you have tolerated usually leads to what you will tolerate. Some leaders look at this as an easy black and white decision while others struggle with it. There are no straight forward answers to this one.

 

The Right People

Part of the answer might be in the people that you have. Face it, everyone is different and while some can “do the job,” others can “do the job, meet your expectations, and play nice with others.” Other factors that you should consider include:

 

  • Make sure that you have effectively communicated your expectations.
  • Find out if there are circumstances that are influencing their performance. Are they OK? Do they need help?
  • Have a culture where people feel safe in asking for help or saying “I’m not sure that I understand what you want me to do.”

 

I recently wrote about “Do great people lead to high performing companies or do high performing companies attract great people?” The people that you have on your team can make it either easier or harder to reach your goals and deliver on your client expectations each and every day.

 

A Rewarding Team Experience

If your team works well together, gets along and is knocking it out of the park for your clients then congratulations. If some are struggling, pull them aside and find out what’s going on. If you have several folks that are trying to find their way, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror as maybe the problem is you. We can all get better, do better and learn every day. Make it part of each day to check the mirror and lead your team to being the best they can be. Good luck in your journey and have fun.

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