Even if you operate as a sole-proprietor, on occasion you collaborate to get things done. By setting expectations for yourself before you dive into any collaborative situation, you’ll ensure success.Most business experts agree that setting expectations is vital to any business relationship. But before you can start expecting things of others, it’s important to establish what you expect of yourself. Take a moment to ask yourself a few questions:
* What is the desired outcome from this collaboration?
* How will I contribute to achieving the desired outcome?
* What roles will others play in achieving the desired outcome?
By focusing yourself and your team on outcomes rather than tasks, you’ll shine the spotlight on what you’ll intend to achieve rather than how you’ll do it. Communicating this type of outcomes-based approach tends to empower people and spark creativity — if you tell someone how to get from A to B, they will, but you ask them to go from A to B, they may surprise you.
With the desired outcome clear, focus on your contribution and the expectations you’ve set for yourself and project. This will set the tone of accountability and send a message to your team that you’re not just dumping work on them. Once you’ve established your role, start ticking off the other roles. If you’ve communicated effectively, team members will be eager to shoulder their fare share and may be more demanding than you were in terms of expectations.
*Note: By focusing on the outcome rather than process, you encourage ownership. That usually means more productivity, but can also mean that others will do things differently than you anticipated. If you react negatively, you’ll stymie their contribution and damage future collaborations.