Story Construction

Managing Expectations

December 9, 2015

I have a friend who uses this phrase routinely. I always appreciate when he says it because it reminds me that this simple, yet wise, statement is a large part of leadership. When working with clients on projects, it is important for us to articulate reality in timing, cost, scope, choices, response time, milestones, activity, behavior, etc. We will always strive to make it better, whatever “it” is, but we must deal in reality. This approach may not be popular, but it is necessary. I believe our clients hire us, in part, to protect them from themselves. Managing expectations is a big part of this effort. Likewise, when working with teams of design professionals, subcontractors, suppliers and other partners, we need to be as clear as possible when setting and managing expectations which can vary from one project to the next based on circumstances. Construction Production 2.0 – Story’s standard process for effectively running construction projects – provides us a means of managing expectations on our projects during construction. We constantly need to work on the process with our partners during preconstruction. Also, with our team members at Story, whether we are addressing career paths, advancement opportunities, next assignments, travel, work/life balance, and what it means to keep a company vibrant for over 80 years, there are many discussions about managing expectations. Lastly, managing expectations with my family and loved ones is part of leading and loving a family. This stuff is everywhere in our lives. Setting and managing expectations are not the same thing, however. I once heard it said that you make plans, then life happens. The fluidity of life requires the constant reinforcement of the starting point and the calibration – and recalibration – of expectations through time. It’s where art and science collide. Another observation…Managing expectations is a discipline, not an event or activity. I can see the wisdom in this statement. It is a great reminder for leadership in both work and personal lives.

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