Managing Expectations

Recently I read an Article in the Customer Collective by Kevin Eikenberry that spoke to the idea that as we engage with customers it is important that we ask the question, “What do you expect?” We often engage with clients and colleagues and we don’t ask what do you expect we make assumptions. And Eikenberry’s advice was to ask this question early in the buying process so that everyone is on the same page.

Yesterday I was reading Forbes on line and saw an article on the worst business jargon. Here Patrick Gray of Prevoyance Group says that the phrase Manage Expectations is a phrase that has to go. He says that when he hears this phrase he hears,  “You’re telling co-workers what we’re going to give the client will suck, but you have to convince the client it’s what they really wanted in the first place.”

Neale Donald Walsh writes that, “Expectations are the greatest source of unhappiness.” Buddha also stated that human suffering is caused by our attachment to our expectations.

Two different views on Managing Expectations; what do you think. Is it important to be clear about expectations and then manage to these? Or, is it as Mr. Gray says it’s just a way to divert the client from poor performance. I have my view and it is a strong view but I want to hear your view first.

Take Good Care

4 Comments:

  1. When we use “managing expectations” to mean “getting the client to believe one thing while doing another,” it is a synonym for lying and deceit. Even the phrase “always exceed expectations” smacks of the same thing–saying one thing while intending another.

    On the other hand, I completely believe the other meaning as well: an expectation is a premeditated resentment. Being free of attachment to outcomes is what makes our intentions pure, and our ability to live in the moment come alive. In that sense, “managing expectations” is very valid–especially when it applies to our own expectations.

    It comes down to: are you trying to manipulate someone to get what you want and are attached to? Or are you trying to keep everyone, but especially ourselves, free of attachment so that we can all collaborate for the betterment of all.

  2. When we use “managing expectations” to mean “getting the client to believe one thing while doing another,” it is a synonym for lying and deceit. Even the phrase “always exceed expectations” smacks of the same thing–saying one thing while intending another.

    On the other hand, I completely believe the other meaning as well: an expectation is a premeditated resentment. Being free of attachment to outcomes is what makes our intentions pure, and our ability to live in the moment come alive. In that sense, “managing expectations” is very valid–especially when it applies to our own expectations.

    It comes down to: are you trying to manipulate someone to get what you want and are attached to? Or are you trying to keep everyone, but especially ourselves, free of attachment so that we can all collaborate for the betterment of all.

  3. Thanks Charles,

    In particular I like your point about managing our own expectations. This is key to our happiness and fulfillment and I still struggle with it even though I know better.

    I think the message is one of intent. There is managing expectations and then managing TO expectations. I think it is important to clarify and pursue the later.

    Take Good Care,,

    John

  4. Interesting topic, John. When I think of “managing expectations” what comes to my mind is “not letting the client get carried away with what they expect”. It also means being honest about what is being delivered versus assuming the very best.

    For example, we often see ads on tv for diet plans. The ad says, “I love 59 pounds in just 6 weeks on this plan!” There is no question that this sets up a false expectation as this is a very best case scenario and not normal. To me “managing expectations” is that disclaimer that says “these results are not typical”. Of course I also want that disclaimer to be in BIG BOLD print, not in tiny print.

    As far as my clients go, I do need to understand their expectations. We can produce fantastic results, but we don’t do miracles. And if we don’t ask the right questions, the client may be expecting miracles.

    I’m looking forward to reading more comments on this topic.

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