Take Time to Inspect How Expectations Are Met
By Dub Taylor
If you want to improve your performance, you must measure it.
“Inspect what you expect” is not just a cliché. It’s hard to tell who coined that phrase, but one thing’s for certain: It’s an accurate admonishment to anyone who wants to be an effective manager.
Consider this to mean “great leaders inspect what they expect.” In business, leadership inspects as part of its risk management and quality assurance. Without proper inspection methods, even successful leaders experience how quickly things can go wrong. After more than a decade of developing people and performance, I realized that it is an important principle of success to inspect what you expect, and to do it the right way.
Therefore, whether you are a sales coach, training manager or trying to improve your own methods, here are a few practical hints for getting the most out of your team.
Expectations: First, you must set expectations. There are a few effective ways to do this. The simplest way is to put together a comprehensive team or business plan of action that outlines not only policies and procedures, but also the culture of the company. You should also take the time to craft an engaging process that will help assimilate tasks and duties more effectively.
Accountability: Second, it’s a good idea to have a regular means of accountability, even when things are going well. Too often, leaders don’t review policies and ask questions unless things are going poorly. It’s important to proactively see if there are any misunderstandings that might cause trouble later if they aren’t cleared up.
Get Feedback: Third, and this is difficult for a lot of leaders, get up out of your chair, walk around and talk to your employees, partners and customers, when applicable. Small talk is OK, but it’s more important that you ask specific questions about things related to your expectations: “Hey, Dave, about those new time reporting requirements, how’s that going for you? It’s really important that we do it this way because …” This is a wonderful way to reaffirm policies while gaining honest reviews on their effectiveness in the process.
These three take-action strategies are a terrific way to establish realistic expectations that are relevant to the stated goals of your organization and the best way to start and grow a successful team. Following up with good inspection measures of how your expectations are being met is the only way to ensure success.