Our expectations are our beliefs that something is likely to happen. Expectations are formed because we anticipate certain outcomes as we go about our life’s activities. We all have formulated particular expectations from the simple and mundane to the complex and serious aspects of our lives. When we turn on a light switch, we expect the light to come on; when we go to start the car, we expect the engine to turn over. When we travel by airplane, we expect the crew and equipment to work cohesively to get us to our destinations safely. We depend on reliable expectations to make decisions and to manage the activities that we undertake in our lives each day. While we would like all of our expectations to transpire as we predicted, that is certainly not always the case. This is especially true when it comes to expectations derived from the actions related to other people; our family, friends and colleagues. How we process these types of interactions becomes much more complicated. For example, how often have you expected your children to do one thing and they do the complete opposite? How many times have you had an encounter with a friend or associate where their actions have totally taken you by surprise; sometimes even shocked you? And, can you count the number of times that you have engaged a co-worker or colleague and gotten something entirely different then what you expected to get from that person either in action or work product?
We develop our expectations based on our experiences and our encounters. From a young age, we begin to learn what to expect when we do certain things; the reactions that we get from our parents and others when we act or perform in a particular manner. We learn to modify our expectations as we gain new information and knowledge. For example, if you touch a hot stove you may expect that all stoves are always hot. As we grow and discover new information, we modify our expectations accordingly and we can make better decisions as we make more informed assessments of our expectations.
In the case of a finely tuned basketball team, such as the 2017 Champion Golden State Warriors, you would imagine that they refine their respective talents to win games and team members rely on their team mates to exert their strengths to ensure they achieve victories and championships. For example, the Warriors turn to Steph Currie to make 3 point shots and there is a strong expectation that he will make them. Knowing your team’s strengths gives you a clear-cut advantage in implementing strategies and achieving success.
When a manager and other team members are confident that a team member will perform the necessary and comprehensive research to move a project forward; when the team is assured that a co-worker will take on a responsibility, take on complex tasks and move through those tasks with skill and grace; and when a team can rely on their cohort’s abilities and talents then you have a team that can EXPECT success! Conversely, expecting something from someone that they are unable to deliver can be frustrating and less productive.
Leaders who know how to manage expectations are able to more seamlessly navigate the choppy waters within their organizations. Why? Because they know how to communicate, organize and direct conversations around their team’s talents and strengths, thereby being more likely to successfully predict positive outcomes that ultimately achieve success for the team.
What if you could be more confident in your ability to predict expectations?
Building a Strengths based team is key to having the ability to predict expectations. Teams that know and intentionally use their unique talents and strengths have a significant advantage in managing and predicting expectations. Teams built around this philosophy learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and develop a level of trust in their team members’ abilities to deliver. They also know how to combine their strengths with other team members to directly enhance positive results.
The main components in a team environment that will influence the decision-making process and collaboration are the following:
Communication – Having teams grounded in their strengths allows for the team to express ideas in a common language that enables them to build complex connections between members. These connections increase the ability to predict expectations as team members are well grounded in what is being communicated to the team and among stakeholders. This promotes clarity.
Clarity – Using strengths as a basis for fostering effective communication among the team is the first step to solidifying clarity. When goals and objectives are clear and well defined, there is a much greater probability of achieving success. Teams that are fully operating in their strengths are much more likely to perpetuate understanding of intentions and purpose which boost assurance in the team’s capabilities, thus building confidence.
Confidence – Strength-based teams are confident in their abilities, their team members and in achieving the desired outcomes. Having high levels of confidence on a team is an essential predictor of expectations as to how the team will perform.
These elements are enhanced dramatically by discovering, declaring and developing Strengths.
“The expectations of life depend on diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools” -- Confucius
Your talents are your tools - Sharpen them and let your strengths help you manage your expectations.
Larry Hammond, Sr. – Certified StrengthsFinder Coach and Principal with V1H Consulting.
Find out more about strengths based workshops and training at wwwv1hconsulting.com