Monday, March 14, 2011

Clarifying Expectations


One way to eliminate a great deal of stress at the onset is to make sure expectations are clarified. Your own, and others’.

It sounds silly, because it seems so intuitive. But it goes on everyday. I cannot tell you the many instances I have run into on a daily basis, that would have been made so much more simple, had I asked exactly what was expected of me, or simply told the other person what I expected of them.

When we assume, expectations go un-clarified, and often misread. As a result, everyone gets frustrated. What may seem obvious to you, might not be as clear to those you are communicating with.

I have found that in many instances, people just aren’t measuring up to my projections on them, many of which I just don’t communicate to them. Since they have no way of reading my mind, they are probably not going to grasp what I am expecting of them before I snap at them for being dense, or they snap at me for being ambiguous.

It pays, literally, to make sure all bases are covered in contracts.  I had one potential  client, with whom we were both on different wavelengths in terms of payment. He had even cited one price as an “example” of what I might charge. My price wasn’t too far off from his example. When I quoted him my price, it turned out to be much higher than he could afford to pay. Using the logic, he wouldn’t have quoted such a price, even as an example if he wasn’t prepared to pay it, would have been dead wrong, in this instance.

Especially with group projects, I’ve found that everyone needs a clear, exact vision of what they are to do. Few are going to dig deeper to do extra if they think they don’t have to.

A friend who is taking an evening college course, has told me with angst about a group project that he is working on.

There are several people who aren’t doing anything, which leaves the few of us who are with all the work.

I remembered back to my own group projects. It is true that there were people who didn’t hold up their end, so to speak. But how much of it was because things weren’t clearly defined? When there is a clear plan with individual assignments, it is harder to shirk off duties. It still happens, to be sure. But at least it is easier to point out and harder to dodge.

c. 2011

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