There’s a power in the anticipation of an event that renders it more desirable and more likely to succeed. Famed financier J.P. Morgan once noted, “When you expect things to happen — strangely enough — they do happen.” As an entrepreneur and Government contractor, I’ve seen this happen time and again. To understand and harness this power, one must first define expectation. I see it in three parts: a level of clarity between the customer and the service provider; agreement on the anticipated results; and delivery of the goods and/or services that fulfills both the customer’s original requirement and the service provider’s internal standards of excellence.
For a project to succeed, the client has to know what is required, the services provider has to have the solution that fits the client’s needs, and the delivery must be timely, effective, and attainable.
When we sit down with a client, we need to be very clear on what is expected. Have the client visualize or conceptualize as much as they can, with the end result of determining the expectation. Ask several questions that clearly set the stage for the expectation:
• What is the business case that is going to be solved by this requirement?
• What is the outcome for this project?
• What will life be like for the client after we deliver that service or product?
Providers also need to be clear on what it is that we anticipate, and while some of that is driven from the client, the rest comes from within our firm.
• What do we have to do?
• What’s driving the customer’s expectation?
• What do we think will resolve the customer’s problems?
• Can my service and/or product meet these needs?
The power of expectation is taking it to a successful completion.
The power in expectation is realized when the client visualizes an end result that is going to do something for them better than what they’ve been able to do. It may be to increase efficiencies, decrease manual labor, operations, or resources costs, or what have you. The power of expectation is that once a client can visualize that solution set, they start to see their business in a different way. They start looking at the possibilities of what this expectation is going to do for them, and how it’s going to change the way they do business. To change the way they provide service. To change the way that they do whatever it is that this particular requirement was meant to do. And that opens up the door of possibilities.
Expectation can be both positive and negative. Consider all aspects of the potential project – it’s not good business to only think of the positive and sweep potential issues under the rug. Part of the client-provider dialogue should be:
• Have you tried this before?
• What is the downside of this change or of this expectation?
Clients do consider the negative aspects of projects, especially if they’ve been burnt before, or if they don’t own the effort. I’ve had customers admit, “My boss wants me to do X, Y, and Z. I don’t think it will work, but…” If the client isn’t vested in the project, the likelihood of failure is higher. If the client doesn’t see the possibilities, they have no expectation or vision for the service provider to achieve. Ultimately, the best solution will fail under these circumstances.
The power of expectation is exponential.
For example, when I go to a restaurant, I have an expectation of the level of service that I will receive. When the experience is above that expectation, there’s something powerful in that. I become a verbal billboard for that organization. Now, I’m promoting a service – free positive advertisement, and that is the best advertisement you can get.
How have you experienced the power of expectation? Do you have additional checkpoints and questions you ask that are not included here?
Keith Boyer // Guest Blogger INK – Industry News & Knowledge
Mr. Boyer co-founded DMG Federal in 1995 and currently serves as its Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. He possesses over 20 years’ experience in the Information Technology, Business Intelligence, Financial Services, and Sales industries. When not ensuring smooth business operation and successful service delivery to clients, Mr. Boyer divides his time among his family, landscaping his yard, and coaching the Hampton Hawkeyes Pop Warner Association youth football teams.