Shep Englander — Federation Journal
Fundamental #10: Get Clear on Expectations
Fundamental #10: GET CLEAR ON EXPECTATIONS. Create clarity and avoid misunderstandings by discussing expectations upfront. Be clear with others about what you expect of them and ask if you are not clear what others expect of you. Where appropriate, confirm expectations in writing.
At our Federation, each department does very different work.
But what is central to the work of SBS, SAFE Cincinnati, Community Building/Planning, Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Financial Resource Development/Fundraising and Marketing?
All of our departments collaborate with and provide services to other agencies and organizations.
The core of the Federation’s business is strengthening and protecting the other essential organizations that make up this community.
What does this have to do with this week’s Fundamental?
If all you are trying to do is work on a project with someone in your department, if you don’t get clear on expectations, something will fail.
If you are working with a colleague in a different department, getting clear becomes even more crucial.
But if you are working with entirely different organizations, that have different goals, pressures and cultures, it’s absolutely necessary to define the expectations, write them down and review them together with the staff at the other organizations.
Confirming expectations in writing is much more effective for two reasons.
First, good writing makes good thinking—the very process of writing down expectations exposes any gaps and or gray areas in what was discussed.
Second, we all have imperfect memories. I know that if I don’t confirm expectations in writing, I will eventually have conflicts with my colleagues.
How you write down expectations depends on how detailed the project is.
Most important is documenting: 1) the specific outcomes or deliverables, 2) the time-frame/due dates and 3) who is accountable for what.
I’d love to see examples of how you have written down different expectations and what works for you.
Below is a sample form for documenting expectations that you can adapt to different projects.
Let me know if you’d like other resources or training. Thanks for your excellent work!
See here for Shep’s comments on all the fundamentals so far.