Clear Expectations Are Invaluable

Thursday, August 15 2013

Research shows that clear expectations are strongly correlated with greater financial returns and increased shareholder value, whether in business, government or the nonprofit sector.

When expectations are clear, people tend to live up to them. Employees, managers, leaders and subsequently the organization all receive greater value from their efforts.

ExpectationsQuoteThe first step in developing clear expectations is to clarify your organization’s operating environment. Explore current status and attitudes of clients, the community, society, governments, stakeholders and the competition. Look beyond today and project what they will want in the future.

The results will clarify your opportunities and threats. With these in mind, review the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

Spell out expectations in the form of mission, values and a vision of the future. Write success plans, with short-term goals, to describe how the organization will get to its destination. These become the organization’s expectations.

Have each division identify what it contributes to the organization and articulate the departmental mission and vision for the future. This creates clear expectations and values for each unit that are consistent with the organization.

Well-crafted position descriptions provide managers and others with great clarity about their roles in the organization, outlining what they contribute to clients, the organization and society. Then, performance agreements supported by success plans can be built to outline what individuals will accomplish within upcoming months.

Setting clear expectations delivers value to individuals, managers and the organization.


When individuals meet expectations, their efforts are validated. They see they have contributed to something worthwhile.  Recognition from managers builds stronger self-worth and confidence.  The result is even greater performance, creativity and contribution to the mission.


Managers experience the collective successes of their team. The task of delivering performance evaluations becomes much easier. They experience less stress and their performance improves.

The division pulls its weight and becomes more profitable, delivering more value than its budget suggests.

Shared success leads to greater success and adds value to the organization.

The Organization

Organizational performance is enhanced as success plan milestones are accomplished.  As a result productivity increases, retention of employees improves, clients are more satisfied, the community is better off, and shareholders enjoy greater returns.

Clear expectations  become an invaluable asset for future success.