Inspect what you Expect

The past few posts have been about the reality that at any given point in your organization there are 3-5 big questions that you need to have fast answers for and be able to make decisions against those answers. The other part of that is enabling the people around you, specifically those who report to you, to make decisions that align with you. You want them to know your questions, know the answers, know they’re important, and respond accordingly.

The Foundation of Expectations

The best way I’ve found to set good expectations is from Patrick Lencioni’s “The Advantage” 1) Create Clarity 2) Reinforce Clarity 3) Over-Communicate Clarity

If you want to empower your team to do something that reaches a goal, give them clarity around it. Clarity doesn’t come from stating something once, it comes from continually holding up what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over….until you’re tired of doing it. That’s when people are starting to understand. Seems tiring, correct? It is tiring and it’s worth it. Creating that clarity will give your team the autonomy it needs to become incredible over the long haul without you having to micromanage.

A story

I remember putting up some metrics one day, afterwards one of my reports (who happens to be an incredibly smart guy that’s growing quickly) came into my office and asked me about something he was doing. Thing is, it wasn’t related to the metrics we’d just added. My response was something along the lines of “Help me understand how that helps with these numbers.” To which it didn’t. So I requested he stop doing that and go back to the person who started him down that path and let them know he couldn’t do it. Which he did. Then he started working towards our team’s goals instead and we got closer to our goals.

The thing about inspecting.

It causes moments where you are required to hold others accountable. That’s part of it. Just like my story. I had a quick way to hold someone accountable because  I had Key Point Indicators that inspected actions. That moment also allowed me to reinforce clarity without having to micromanage my team in the process. If you give people a goal, but don’t inspect it, then there’s no way to hold them accountable. If you don’t hold people accountable you’re actually communicating that you really don’t care about that thing which leads to lack of clarity. If you tell people what you expect, inspect it to see how you’re doing. Culture is not just what you encourage, but also what you tolerate.