Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations with your team and individual team members is crucial to the success of an organization. Having members spend time and energy on a problem/task with out clear expectations will not only waste their energy, your money, everyone’s time, but also the moral of the group. At the end of the day we all want to feel that we were successful in what we accomplished, no matter how mundane the task. Setting clear expectations sounds like an easy task but it takes more then just telling someone what you want them to do. In order to achieve the results expected you need to be clear about your expectations, when you would like them to be completed and how their expectations fit within the overall success of the company.

Group at table goal setting

  • What are your expectations?
    • Be specific
    • Set goals
      • Your expected sales are $$$$, with a product mix of A $%, B $%, C $%
      • Your expected calls are ####, with a % call back, and a % satisfaction
      • Your expected employee retention is % after 90 days, and % after one year.
    • Ask questions to ensure that they understand your expectations
      • Watch for non verbal clues that will let you know if they are understanding you and engaged.
      • Do Not Understand/ Not Engaged- glazed over look, distracted during the discussion, closed body language, minimal or tensed facial expressions, body turned away from you, and minimal eye contact are a few examples.


  • When do you expect to see results?
    • Be specific (Date)

A group of four people joining Puzzel Pices

  • How do these expectations fit in with the companies/team goals, mission statement, and overall success?


Two people speaking at tableJust because you have set clear expectations one time, does not mean that you will magically receive the results you expect. It is your responsibility to check in with your team members to ensure that expectations are still clear and that their questions are answered. During your check in you should be taking a pulse on the situation, are your expectations realistic or do they need to be adjusted, is there a knowledge gap, is this member engaged.

  • Expectation adjustment needed
    • If your expectations have changed, communicate why they have changed
  • Lack of Skill
    • This member is engaged
    • This member is trying but needs more training
  • Lack of Will
    • This member is not engaged
    • They are fully trained
    • They have the knowledge needed and is not performing


If you feel yourself getting frustrated with the lack of progress, remember to ask yourself; is this a lack of skill or will? A lack of skill can be remedied with time and training. When you find yourself with someone that has a lack of will, the first question I would ask,  is this still the best position for this member? Some find this process time consuming but it is worth it. Without clear expectations we end up with many unhappy people all trying to their hardest to go to the same destination while using different maps. Some will eventually get there but they will have wasted valuable time, and resources.