Ep 141: "But the house isn't READY" - Expectation setting



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My baby girl, Lorianne, made it painfully clear one day that we weren't ready to embark on a journey that I didn't even know we were traveling. Sound familiar? Maybe not from your kid...or wait...it's highly like it was from your kid because our wonderful children are known to take us on unforeseen adventures all the time. But the source I'm thinking about is other adults that we work with either in our 9-to-5 or in our business. Somewhere along the line, it's easy for expectations to get miss-aligned, and that's what we'll dive into.


In this episode, we'll go through...

  • How to quickly spot misaligned expectations in the workplace and your biz

  • Resolving expectation misalignment quickly and overtly

  • How to set a future for better communication success


I think it was the day before Halloween and I was talking to the girls about trick or treating pretty much saying, "Hey, trick or treating is coming tomorrow. It's so exciting, yada, yada, yada." And so I just recall my youngest girl, my five-year-old Lorianne saying, "But mom, our house is not ready for Halloween." And I'm thinking, "Oh, well what difference does it matter? We're just going to be going to go get candy. Nobody is coming to our house. We're not hosting a haunted house or anything like that. It really doesn't matter. We're going outside of the house." So in her mind, we were supposed to have a house that was fully decorated for Halloween. I mean that had all the streamers and the pumpkins and the scary things all over the place before we could go do trick or treating or before we can answer the door and hand out candy, the house needed to look a certain way in her mind. What this reminded me of was just how sometimes we get misaligned on the expectations that people have of us or that we have of other people.


Sometimes we get misaligned on the expectations that people have of us or that we have of other people. (Click to tweet)

So in this case, Lorianne had her expectations set and when it came to me, I'm thinking, "Well, what are you talking about Lori? That's not something that we need." We didn't have the same expectations. And I think we see this a lot in the workplace and even in our business as we're building it. Thinking about the workplace and my 9-to-5, I had an incident where somebody said to me, "Oh, okay, so talking to that one company for the interview, Candace, you were supposed to do that, right?" And I just kind of looked and said, "No, when was I ever supposed to do that? Where did that communication happen? I'm not sure what you're talking about." Here again, was a case where someone thought the expectation was I was supposed to do something. I wasn't aware of this expectation. We encounter this all the time.



So let's talk about how do we get to a place where we can set expectations with others and also help make sure that people know when our expectations aren't clear. So one of the things that I think about is it's easy to spot misaligned expectations. It is usually when you have either that look on your face or that statement that comes out of your mouth that says, "What? What are you talking about?" It's easy to spot an expectation missed.



Now, when it comes to resolving those expectations though, I like to take an approach that says, "Hey, let's talk about this expectation right at the moment and let's talk about it in the open." So in the case of the interview situation for me right then and there, I said, "Okay, so what is it that you're looking for me to do? And the person explained, "Well, we thought that you were going to do X, Y, and Z for the interview and contact this company and do this and do that." And I said, "Okay. And so if you would like me to do that, I'm happy to do that. What's the outcome that you're looking for? How are you going to take this? How are you going to use it?" So it wouldn't have been easy for me to say, "Oh, okay, you wanted me to do that. Okay, I'll go and do that." But since I didn't have any clarity on the expectation, it's important to stop and say, "All right, let's talk about what you want. You want something from me, but I don't know it." And so I also think that gets to when you can have that open conversation and gives you the opportunity to set yourself up for any future communications, any future expectation setting.


How do we get to a place where we can set expectations with others and also help make sure that people know when our expectations aren't clear. (Click to tweet)

So if at the moment I can get clear about what's ask should mean after I get my understanding of what that expectation is, I can talk about going forward. So in this case, I simply said, "If there are other things that you need from me, make sure that we touch base together and make sure that I'm clear on what you need." And so I've given you that signal that I know what you need and can run with it. Because the last thing you want to do is continue to have these circular conversations of, "Oh, I thought you were going to go do that, or I thought that would be good for you to go do. I thought you would have picked that up." Nope. Nobody has time for that. So when it comes to expectation setting, be clear, be overt, have the conversation in the moment, and set yourself up for a future communication that is equally as clear with what you expect them to give you when they have the expectation.


So when it comes to expectation setting, be clear, be overt, have the conversation in the moment. (Click to tweet)

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