We are constantly confronted with situations that require managing expectations, whether in private or professional settings. Circumstances linked to an anticipated outcome entail a significant dose of expectation.
But what creates expectations, and why are they challenging to manage?
Expectations arise either from an implicit or explicit agreement between the parties involved. Successfully managing expectations can lead to the proper fulfillment of an agreed outcome and can reduce the level of conflict between the parties.
Expectations are challenging to manage because they are based on beliefs that a particular outcome or event will occur. For this reason, applying the ACE principle can improve your ability to manage expectations.
The ACE Principle
Attitude: Evaluate your personal attitude and that of your counterpart towards the situation. Departing from a positive stance promotes proper rapport.
Attainability: How feasible is it to attain the desired outcome given the current resources (people, money, and time)?
Communication: What is the quality of communication between the counterparts? Is it courteous, reciprocal, tense, and/or sporadic? What type of communication flow dominates the situation? Is it upward, downward, horizontal, and/or multi-directional?
Conscientiousness: Are the participants willing to perform tasks well and take their obligations seriously?
Engagement: What is the level of commitment between the parties involved in achieving the desired outcome?
Effect or Influence: Can you determine the level of influence exerted by the participants? In case pulling strings is required to complete a project.
Once we have determined a stance based on the evaluation of the ACE variables, it becomes easier to manage expectations. We can now set appropriate limits on what is acceptable and doable and what is out of scope.
Evaluate each of the ACE variables and set appropriate limits for what is acceptable and doable in each situation.
In subsequent posts, I will discuss each of the ACE variables in detail. In the meantime, start applying ACE!”
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