You Get What You Ask For

In business, relationships, and in life, expect to get what you ask for and not more.

Some people will over-deliver and give you more than what you asked for. Consider that to be a bonus. But expecting people to deliver on something exactly “how I would do it” is a set-up for disappointment and frustration.  

You have a project meeting at work. Everyone on the project attends, and you are present to align on responsibility for each member of the team. Do you tell Scott that he is responsible for exactly these items on the task list without asking for the date by when you need it complete? Or, do you make the assumption that if you give him a general idea that he will understand your definition of “ASAP?”   

How well does that turn out on delivery date?  

And then, how are office relationships? Do you start thinking Scott is not up to task? Or is it that he doesn’t have a sense of urgency?  This is how we end up forming perceptions of others that can limit our performance. 

In relationships at work or at home, remember that assumptions remain in your own mind.  Explicit requests are spoken or written in detail. And most people will rise to the occasion if you give them the requirements and expectations.  

What details could have been left out when you went over the project? Can you circle back and double check with the team? Can you give them permission to ask to fill in any blanks that have been left to assumption? 

With a few extra minutes of clearer, more focused direction, you just took a regular project to the next level, while empowering team members to bring a better product to the table. 

Fantastic employers and managers make this same mistake every day. What is helpful is having an outside set of eyes and ears recognize that level of communication and expectation. At Momentum Consulting, we act as that outside source that can view situations externally and objectively. We call them “blind spots,” and once revealed, they are often the catalyst to a major shift in collaboration, partnership and efficiency. 

If you’re not getting what you want, start paying attention to what you are asking for. The good news is, it’s up to you. 

All my best, 


Fundamental of the Week #15: BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR SETTING AND RECEIVING CLEAR EXPECTATIONS Make sure your expectations are clear and what people hear is what you are asking. Be clear about what’s expected of you.

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