“Working with Eric was a pleasure. We developed a good rapport and established a level of honesty and trust. I valued his counsel and recommendations. I find Eric to be very competent in a variety of disciplines. He is able to correctly diagnose organizational problems and suggest solutions that are on point. I found Eric to be a professional with the highest levels of honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior. I would not hesitate to engage his services again in the future.”
former Corporate Services Director,
Department of Planning and Development,
City of Seattle
(Kathy is now Director of Planning and Finance for Advocacy and Communications at World Vision.)
“I've worked closely with Eric on developing and presenting the Leadership Eastside community leadership program. He has that rare blend of extensive real-world experience along with a very strong background in theory and research. He moves easily between big picture strategy and the tactical details. Eric brings a superb ability to plan, execute and follow-through, both as a behind-the-scenes planner and as an upfront instructor and facilitator.”
founding board member,
“Undersell and over-deliver” is a mantra for many effective managers and influence leaders. Get people to set their expectations low and then they’ll be pleasantly surprised by results that exceed their expectations.
I think this principle applies well in transactions, like selling a product or service. Or project or program. But it brings problems when you are trying to bring people together to make something new happen.
When you are bringing people together, you need to set higher expectations. Even intentionally unreasonable ones—which are sometimes called “stretch goals” or “BHAGs” (for Big Hairy Audacious Goals).
To achieve stretch goals, you need to imagine them first. And imagine yourself, your team and your project achieving those goals.
So, do you keep expectations modest or set up BHAGs? Here’s where the art of managing expectations comes into play:
If people believe in advance that some experience or event will be good, they will look for signs confirming that expectation. If they expect it to be bad, then they will see it as bad.
The pit to avoid is setting people up to expect poor outcomes and a bad experience. Ultimately, you need to try to regulate the expectations they have for your effort: not so high as to doom you to failure, and not so low that no one’s motivated.