Whenever a season begins we always hear coaches/teachers/leaders have to answer questions about the expectations for the year. An example question: Based on last years improvement, how much growth do you expect? Many skirt the issue of expectations altogether, in part never answering the question due to not wanting to place a bulls-eye on their back.
However, each team, person, organization, classroom and individual has expectations.
Without expectations, how can improvement occur?
No one aspires to stay the same—we all expect more in a team or individual setting. Bill Copeland once said: “The trouble with not having expectations is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” Therefore, expectations are necessary. How often have you read or heard that when it comes to dealing with expectations, they must be “managed” correctly? Manage expectations? You cannot manage expectations; you must lead expectations. Don’t forget, the difference between a leader and a manager are: Leaders do the right thing; managers do things right.
Leading expectations is critical. How a leader talks to their team, their fans, their organization is the first step towards driving the expectations. The best approach is called Management by Objectives (MBO), a system that seeks to align employee objectives with the organization's goals. And using the SMART acronym is the best process.
SMART stands for:
Follow the SMART plan and when leading always make sure to hit these critical points when setting expectations and re-enforcing them each day.
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