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I just left a client’s business right now where I sat down with him in one of his key employees. And they have been going back and forth on a job description and a role for this key employee for over six months. Now, I was privy to the email exchanges and a lot of the communication that they were having. What they asked me to do is come in today and sit down and help them assess the meeting and really come to a clear and concise decision on where they want to go.

Now, their decisions were multifaceted. They were either going to split the sheets and go their separate ways, but again, this is a key employee. Both of them really appreciated and honored and respected each other, but they just weren’t seeing eye to eye. And again, this should have been a decision that happened in a day, maybe two, but yet it took them over six months.

When sitting down, I started the conversation what I’m going to share with you. In most relationships, business and personal, there are at least two common factors that cause problems, frustrations, anger, anxiety. One is unexpected or uncommunicated expectations. That’s when I have an expectation of you, but I haven’t told you about it. I expect you to follow up with sales calls within four hours, but I never told you that. I expect you to do your dishes, but I never told you that. I expect you to take out the trash, but I never told you that. You had to get mad when you don’t do it.

The second thing is thwarted communication, so I’m not communicating to you at all. And that’s what was happening to these two people, the business owner, and his key employee. They weren’t communicating properly. Now, they were sending emails back and forth, but what really wasn’t happening is they weren’t coming to an agreement. And all I simply did was sit in front of them and said, “Is this clear to you? What are you hearing?” They would repeat it back. “Is that what you thought?” They would say, yes or no. “Actually, I thought it was something a little different.”

After an hour sitting down, they came to an agreement where they were actually seeing eye to eye and developed a process for this. And the frustration you could actually palpably feel it leaving the actual meeting. And all it was, was two simple techniques. One is clear expectations. You have to be crystal clear in your expectations. If you’re not communicating something you’re expecting of somebody, you can’t expect them to do it. They just don’t know. Their lens of life in the world is different than yours. They have a different expectation. They have different parents than you did. You have to clearly set expectations, both in your business world but also in your personal lives with your spouse or significant other. It’s really important.

When I talk to business owners often, they’ll tell me something about getting a fighting with their wife or their husband and then they’ll mention, “What was the fight mention about?” And they’ll tell me a few things. When it comes down to it, it’s like that person didn’t take out the trash. And I’ll ask him, “Did you ask them to? Or, is that something that you’ve agreed on with your partner?” “Well, they just … Doug, they should just know. I mean, come on, trash is overflowed, dah-dah-dah-dah.”

Now, going to their story, the expectation was never set and now, they’re mad at each other for weeks on in. It’s really ridiculous as an outsider coming in, and I do it too. And the second thing is just communication. If I don’t tell you something if I don’t communicate what’s going on for us in our business or in my relationships, how are you supposed to know?

Also, if you don’t clearly understand something that I’m saying, I need you to let me know that. As a business owner or a leader, wherever you are in your business career, but just as a leader, somebody that’s doing this work, you are a leader in society. It’s important for you to take that role in yourself and ask somebody, “Hey, can you repeat back what I said so I can make sure you understand?”

It’s a simple question. I must have done that a dozen times during this meeting, but that allowed them to actually have clear communication because the truth is when both of them agreed on something and I asked them to repeat it back, they were not really agreeing on the same thing. They were missing each other just by a little bit, but these little misses caused unmet expectations. They caused problems in the relationship later on, and at the end of the meeting, everybody left happy and very thankful, which I always love when I go to a client meeting, come in to do some kind of consultation.

I want you to look at this. Where in your life are you not setting expectations clearly with somebody else by getting upset? Are you getting upset at somebody regularly? In other words, do you see a pattern of getting upset with a particular person in your life, whether that be an employee or an employer, whether that be a spouse or a family member? Chances are if that pattern is repeated, it’s an unmet expectation. In other words, you have an expectation that they are not meeting. It could be an expectation of behavior, a way of being or something that they’re just not doing, or something they are doing.

The second thing I want you to write down, or think about then write down, is are you being clear in your communication? If I were to look at all your communications during the day, would I have a really clear understanding of what it is? Now, if you’re an employer, and as you all know if you’ve listened to this, I work with business owners professionally. It’s what I do. If you’re an employer, oftentimes as business owners, what we want do is just have our staff just read our minds.

I used to always talk about my key player. Her name is Darcy. I would just say, “I need you to read my mind. Why didn’t you read my mind?” It’s a joke we do back and forth, because I don’t always clearly communicate. I have an idea, I’m an entrepreneur and I’m always on the go running six businesses now at this point. What I will tell her, “I need this done.” It’s half of an idea. She knows me well enough now at this point to ask for clarification. As a business owner, it’s also my responsibility to clearly communicate, and it’s practice I’m working on too.

So, I ask you this, where in your life are you having unmet expectations because you haven’t clearly defined them with somebody? Where also are you not clearly communicating? Now, once you’ve identified those areas, what I want you to do, give you the opportunity to do is take action. Go ahead and clear up those expectations. Make sure that they’re clear and then get agreements. You have to get an agreement with somebody on the expectation.

For example, my wife might expect me to take out the trash every Tuesday night. Now, I’ve got to agree with that. Maybe I don’t agree with it. She just tells me to do it. It doesn’t work, but if I agree with that and go, “Yes, I will take out the trash every Tuesday.” Now that expectation is crystal clear. If I don’t do it, it’s on me, not her.

Also, communication, if I just say, “Hey, I want to do something fun this weekend.” I have to be a little clear on what that means. I have to be a little clear, or if I tell my staff like this person the job description had, “I want you to …” It was something like, “Exceed customer expectations.” Well, what does that look like?

Allow them the opportunity to win. That’s a critical aspect. Everybody should have the opportunity to win on these things, so you want to make that they have the opportunity to win, whoever it is. It could be a friend of yours like just clearly communicate. Take all the ambiguity out and it makes your relationships just flow with ease, it makes it fun. And like these two, these business owners and their key staff, they walk away. Everybody is happy and the business has grown, and that’s how business proliferates.

That’s it for me today. Have a fantastic day. I will see you tomorrow. As always, go out, share this with three people, then go out and be the Author of Your Own Story. Take care.

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