Having expectations is important, having a shared expectation is key.  Successful relationships, prosperous businesses and customer satisfaction are all built on shared expectations.  A consumer expects a product to fulfill its purpose for purchase, businesses expect employees and vendors to fulfill their work requirements, and partnerships are formed on shared expectations for love and happiness. Even a job description establishes clear expectations for what employees are hired to complete on a day to day basis.

Surprisingly, over 50% of marriages end in divorce, only a quarter of UK customers are repeat shoppers. In the hospitality industry alone, the turnover rate for employment is over 75%, leading to employers paying far more to hire a new employee, than to keep a current one.

So what can be done to limit unrealistic or unmet expectations? Here are several factors that should be considered for any future personal or professional partnerships.

Get it in writing, get it up front

Job descriptions set clear expectations for employees, as does the salary and benefits package.  Employees and companies know exactly what is expected and what their return should be, i.e. salary.  But often times, more job duties are added, hours are extended and expectations become unclear.  Asking for an updated job description, or writing out a plan of attack for any future project are great ideas.  One can also utilize the SMART tactic of goal planning which includes establishing Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals. Creating SMART goals and having written documents ensures everyone has the same frame of reference to review while working towards the same goal or goals.

Meet frequently, review and revise

Managers and partners should continue to discuss how goals or expectations have evolved.  Unfortunately, and fortunately, nothing can be set in stone.  As organizations and needs evolve, so should the expectations previously set.  Setting aside time on a regular basis to ensure all parties are aware of the current and evolving expectations will allow open communication as well as the opportunity to re-engage in previously set goals.  During these meetings, it is also important to take the time to understand why expectations are important to a specific individual, a customer or the company.  This establishes a cohesive front that understands each other and the motives behind each partner.

Share the same goal

Common goals enable people to band together as well as feel motivated to complete large or small tasks together that can assist in achieving the big picture.  Employers should want their constituents to continue to grow and prosper; managers should seek to develop team members so that promotions are possible.

Celebrate successes 

Achievements take dedication and hard work.  Individual and team accomplishments should be celebrated as a group, no matter the circumstance.  Small achievements should also be part of everyday successes as they are important to the end goal.  This encourages progress as well as strengthens the partnership or community.

While it may be difficult to agree on each and every expectation, or understand a specific individual’s desires, these steps will assist with maintaining a successful partnership engaged with achieving the same goals together.  Creating individual, team and product oriented expectations will allow a cohesive workforce, partnership as well as raise customer return rates.  Transparent and well formulated expectations create a common front that is charged to exceed any goal, large or small.