We all know every employee has responsibilities they must perform a certain way — it's what you get paid to do. Going into a job, these responsibilities are straightforward and clear because you talk about them in great detail during the interview process. In addition to your responsibilities, you may also have goals, which should be clear as well. But despite having an understanding of these two things, it's equally important to know what exactly is expected of you. The best way to ensure success in your career is to constantly exceed these expectations. To do that, you have to effectively identify and manage them.
Take professional sports, for example. The NFL makes every attempt to create parity among the teams. It is financially beneficial to the league if, at the beginning of the year, every team has a chance to win the championship. The longer each team has a chance, the more excitement is created and the more money is spent by fans.
With that being said, you can imagine the goal for each head coach is to compete for the championship, if not win it. But a little over a third of the league makes it to the playoffs and only one team/head coach will win the championship. This tells us that the vast majority of players and coaches will miss their stated goals. But something interesting happens: The day after the season is over, some coaches are fired and others are not. I would venture to say that the coaches that never win the championship but also don’t lose their job probably do a good job of setting and managing expectations with the owners.
Conversely, each year there are coaches who are completely surprised when they get fired. I believe these coaches did not do a great job of understanding what was expected of them or they would not have been surprised by their firing. The goal was to compete for a championship. What does that mean? What was the expectation? Was it to win a certain number of games? Was it to build a certain environment? What really led to their firing?
In an ideal world, the stated expectation and the real expectation are the same. But if not, make sure you know the difference.
Some environments can be very dynamic where things are constantly changing. If you are a valued employee, you will often see your workload increase and you may be asked to do things by a variety of people. Taking on additional responsibilities is a good thing. The more you can do well, the more valuable you will become.
In the midst of getting additional work and having to prioritize, make sure to have a clear understanding of the expectations of each person with whom you are working. Communicate with them consistently to ensure those expectations do not change.
It is important to communicate all you are doing for those who assign you work. You don’t want to have the reputation of doing quality work and then produce something of low quality because you are working on too many things at the same time. One person complaining about your work can taint your reputation, even if everyone else thinks you do a great job.
If you find yourself in a situation where your expectations are not realistic, and you realize that you are not going to meet, and preferably exceed expectations, it is best to inform others early. As a friend of mine once told me, "Bad news does not get better with time."
Once you and those you work for are all aligned with realistic expectations, you have to focus on exceeding them. Meeting expectations is not enough. You want your peers, managers and other executives to think of you as a person who goes above and beyond.
When I worked as a management consultant, this was something the company did really well, and that's primarily because it was such a big focus. No matter what service we delivered, it was all about exceeding expectations. That was how the client judged our work. It was never just about the quality, the cost or the time in which the work was delivered. It was all about whether or not we met or exceeded expectations. As a company, we realized that the more we exceeded expectations, the stronger our relationship with the client became, and the stronger the relationship, the more work we received.
As an individual, your thinking should be the same way. Every time you are asked to do something, you should ensure that when you have completed the task you have exceeded expectations. Constantly delivering above-average expectations will lead to you getting more responsibilities. And continuing to do well with those additional responsibilities will lead to an increase in the perception of your value.
Originally published on December 31, 2017 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau