Monday, November 7, 2011

Lesson #104: Manage Expectations & Exceed Them

Nothing is more annoying than somebody promising to do something, and then not doing it.  That could be the task itself, the scope of the task or the timing of the task.  People can't effectively do their jobs, if they are sitting around waiting for something from you, or if they are making business decisions based on your inflated forecasts.  And, more importantly, nothing hurts your personal credibility more than not living up to expectations. 

So, never make a promise that you cannot back up.  If you tell somebody you are going to get the project done, get it done.  If you tell them it will be done by December 31st, have it done by December 15th and pleasantly surprise them.  Don't have it done by January 31st, having them wondering why the project is over a month late.  If you tell someone you are going to drive $1MM in revenues from the program, drive $1.2MM, and exceed expectations and build your credibility.  Don't drive $750K in revenues and come up with a million excuses why you fell short of expectations.

So, the moral of the story: build in cushions in terms of deadlines and scope when making promises or forecasts, and exceed those expectations wherever you can.  That will show your business partners you are not only a person of your word that can be counted on, but that you have a solid grasp on your business in terms of getting your team to beat deadlines, drive revenues or cut expenses in excess of forecast.

And, worth mentioning, never tell somebody you are going to do something, if you have absolutely no intention of doing it (just to get that person off your back or to avoid an awkward situation).  Hit that awkward situation head on, with honesty about your intentions and a logical rationale why you are not moving forward as planned.  The other party will better appreciate your being honest with them, instead of feeling you are blowing them off.

If the three drivers of real estate success are location, location, location.  The three drivers of startup success are credibility, credibility, credibility.  So, be sure to not disappoint, in order to attract the best employees, partners and investors for your business.

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