Practica –
Feedback Gift 7: Clear Expectations


Raise questions that clarify the content or direction of the recipient's performances. 

Be clear about what you mutually agreed upon in the past or are now asking the other person to do. 

In assessing pat behavior or performance, review performance in light of objectives mutually agreed upon. When you are seeking to improve a person's performance or demanding or negotiating changes for the future, follow these steps: 

  1. (Re)state specifically what it is you propose(d) to achieved. 
  2. Show how the past behavior did and did not contribute to it. 
  3. Agree on both the (new) objective and the means and measures for accomplishing it. 
  4. Make sure you both understand the same thing. The skills of active listening are critical here, though they are useful for all forms of giving and getting feedback found in this chapter. 

In many cultures, contracts and agreements do not have the same finality as they do elsewhere. A person may agree with you without agreeing to what you ask. They will change agreements for what they think will please you or satisfy other important relationships. If you want such person to produce a specific outcome or use a specific approach, insist on a combination of benchmarks and informal spot checks. Break the objective into measurable stages with deadlines. 


Ways to State Expectations Clearly 

  • We agree that… 
  • Here's what I expect(ed)… Do (Did) you agree to…? 
  • Specifically, I am requesting you to… 
  • I ask that we now decide on how/what… 
  • Here's what I asked… Here's what you promised… 
  • Can you tell me how you understand what we agreed on…? 

The more loosely knit the work culture or situation, the more likely it is that expectations will be seen as legitimate only on the basis of an explicit previous agreement. A request must be made, a promise given, and the standards must be spelled out in clear detail. Otherwise, saying, "I expected you to…" seems both foolish and unfair. Working together is mindsharing, not mindreading. 


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