The fastest way to derail your plan is to be vague or unclear about what you expect for your business and from yourself, your management team and their direct reports. Employees do not engage when expectations aren’t clear. Actually, the number two reason people quit their job is because they don’t know what’s expected of them and therefore can’t determine whether they’re making any impact.
Whatever you expect in terms of performance should be documented in writing, agreed to and signed off on. A great place to begin determining which expectations to set is with job descriptions/models as they contain the main functions for each role, providing you a great framework. The following are three things that should be included in each expectation, along with some examples.
Communicate specifically what they need to do/accomplish and for what purpose. For example if you’re setting prospecting expectations, be clear about what behaviors you need them to perform: phone calls, face-to-face meetings, networking, new business generation, referrals, public speaking, community service, etc. To state that you expect them to generate new business is too vague. Rather, define what you consider to be new business, aside from the obvious. Would a former client who hasn’t done business with you for two or more years be considered ‘new’? How about business from a different division of an existing client? What are your goals for their phone call activities – appointments, referrals, a definite ‘no’?
2) How Much?
Clearly state this using numbers and data. Adding on to the above new business example, you might state: You are expected to write $100,000 in new business; or, you are expected to close 10 new clients; or, you are expected to make 80 phone calls weekly to non-clients.
3) By When?
In order to figure out whether their performance is satisfactory, they’ve got to know when you will inspect what they have/haven’t accomplished. To continue with the example: You are expected to write $100,000 in new business by June 30, 2013. You are expected to close 10 new clients by March 31, 2013, each with a minimum order of $5,000.
When you provide clearly stated expectations your employees understand what they must do to be successful. This is a great gift from you to them. It also provides you with the certainty that they have no questions about what you expect. This mutual clarity and commitment are both crucial for your business growth.