Have had two experiences in the last week that left me wondering if I’d lost ‘it’. Neither was directly my fault and in both cases I already knew better.First, I gave a talk where The Big Cheese (the one who signs the check) and some other Big Shots were in attendance. I thought it was good — one slight logistical urp that wasn’t huge and dozens of “Wow! I wish I had you as a teacher in school” kinds of comments. But the reports trickled back that He “wasn’t happy”. Turns out some of the Big Shots were supposed to be catered to and someone forgot to tell me. I didn’t even know they were there and did not sufficiently butter/kiss up/acknowledge them and their peeps. My bad, but Mr. Check Signer, shouldn’t you have notified me of that with clear direction on how I should deliver the program (which I’ve done bunches of times for them) differently?Then I dived into a development project with a repeat client who has had rather loose reigns and taken my previous work as golden. I begged for measurable objectives to start the process and got a hand-wave. Rather than demand them to be more well-defined, I pressed on because of timeline and prior relationship. And got shot down quickly. I should have held my ground; now I’m scrambling to rework the project while trying to acquire what should have been in place weeks ago.Both situations boil down to the same problem. Expectation — or lack of — breeds disappointment. When deliverables are involved, they should be clearly defined from both sides. Of course, the client is right — always — and I’ll lose sleep to make sure they are happy, but we all could have been happy the first time with just a little clearer communication.
Set — and get — expectations before delivery.