Kevin D Thompson – Alignment of Mutual Expectations

Alignment of Mutual Expectations

Alignment of Mutual Expectations

What is this?
In all interactions between people, expectations are generated either by explicit negotiation or by assumption.

Why is this important?
The best outcomes of our interactions result from the expectations of all involved parties being aligned and fulfilled. In simple matters, this is relatively easy to accomplish, as interactions get more complex there are many aspects that may be overlooked, misunderstood, assumed incorrectly etc. and thereby unfulfilled.

Perceived under-delivery by any party involved is where disappointment, frustration and even anger begins. Alignment of our expectations requires open discussion in the case of moderately complex interactions and elaborate contracts in highly complex exchanges. Slight over-delivery is actually the best long-term approach to developing strong business (or personal) relationships because it engages the "reciprocity" principle and certainly serves to build trust.

Failure to clearly establish our expectations before entering into a "contract" or agreement with someone leaves us susceptible to the other persons assumptions and often they do not measure up. Communication and contracting are very similar in that "it takes two to tango" and if we do not get the results we want then we are responsible. The time to align expectations is before we make an agreement.