Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Managed Expectations

For a destination wedding, every food station has a theme!
Everyone paints pictures in their mind. We all walk into situations thinking and wondering who will be there; what will they be wearing; am I wearing the right thing; what will he/she say; will the situation meet my expectations? Rarely does anyone just flop into a new scenario without a set of expectations. We all have hopes and desires that we wish will happen. 

Austria in July will be the site of the nuptials. 
I'm in Monroe, Louisiana getting ready to attend my nephews Engagement Party. We expect an incredible soiree -  eighty-three hosts and hostesses will entertain two shifts of probably a thousand guests as we celebrate Mac and Brittney's engagement! But what will it be like? Will the country club be magnificently decorated? Who will be there that I know? On a limited diet, will the food be anything I can eat? Will there be a band and dancing? Is it possible that I will be put in a situation where I will say/do something stupid (like call someone by the wrong name, or forget a spouse's death!)? Any number of expectations surround an event - will we be elated with the outcome, or downright disappointed?

The greater the number of participants in any given event, the less likely you are to be able to satisfy all the attendant expectations. Try though you may to manage all of the expectations of all of the participants, it just "ain't" going to happen! Strong communications with your target audience can improve the odds of success, but still someone is going to be disappointed. 

On a much smaller, yet no less important scale, that is exactly what we are doing when we build someone's home. Our client comes into the process with a set of expectations of what their home is going to look like; how rooms and areas are going to function; what the space is going to do for their family; even how we as Builders are going to perform. Our job is to efficiently communicate, while listening, to try to understand those expectations so we can manage them as tightly as possible. A well organized, and thoroughly thought out plan for trying to understand the pictures painted in the client's mind goes a long way towards minimizing expectation risk.

This is where "under promise, and over deliver" comes into play! In just the last post I was cranking about those Builders who were "over promising, and under delivering." Sure they get the contract signed by over promising, but they have set themselves up for complete mismanagement of their client's expectations. And the clients end up furious! The Builder probably doesn't care...after all, he/she beat out all the other guys and got the contract signed (though with a pack of lies!)!

All eighty-three hosts and hostesses would be delighted to know that Brittney and Mac's Engagement Party wildly exceeded our expectations! But that is the way in Monroe - quietly, and humbly "under promise" a wonderful evening of sending the future Bride and Groom off in style, then "OVER DELIVER" with an event that even the New York debutante circuit would be very proud of! I suppose that's the town's way of "managing expectations!"
Monroe photographs courtesy of Mary Dawson Photography

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