I’ve written before about understanding client expectations in business. Honestly, for me, it’s the most challenging aspect of working with clients. Getting on the same page with what they expect and what you deliver is critical. But today, I want to point out a different aspect of setting expectations – being clear about the day to day expectations of co-workers, family, and friends. For instance, time and time again, people want to meet with me, but not tell me in advance what it’s about. In a similar way, people invite co-workers to meetings without an agenda. Others ask for help, but don’t tell you exactly what’s expected. Still others drop in uninvited with no advance warning.
In the case of meetings, knowing your expectations allows me to plan so our time together can be more productive. Even in friendship or marriage, it’s a simple courtesy to let the other person know when you expect to arrive, what you plan to do, or what you want to discuss.
Somehow we’ve gotten clear expectations confused with trust. We erroneously believe that because we’re friends or co-workers, I don’t have to tell you why we need to meet, or why I’m coming over. But not only is it wrong, it’s disrespectful and rude.
Know this: Setting expectations has nothing to do with friendship or trust. It’s simply common courtesy to help people plan. It tells them that you value their time.
What about you? How important is it for others to let you know what they want?