239. Importance of Clear Expectations

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After you have articulated the vision, break it down into clear expectations for each individual. Done right, this will create autonomy.

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Jeff Gardner:

After you have a very clear vision, the second part is making sure you set up very clear expectations with your people. I come from a background where I spent my early years in large companies and they would set up these big annual goals. They set up annual goals for individuals. And I’m telling you, it just doesn’t work in a startup and early-stage environment.

What I recommend when I’m working with my companies, and my CEOs, and executive teams is getting really focused on a quarterly basis. You have annual themes that you may go after. You may want to increase your gross margins from 80 to 85%. That may be an annual theme, but you’re setting up quarterly goals that are going to help you get there. And then you break those down to, I call them the big three. It’s the three things that each person on the team needs to focus on that quarter to help get you to your company goals.

The setting up of clear expectations sounds so simple and so obvious, and yet it is lacking in most of the companies that I see early on. Taking the time and the effort to set up those expectations gives you the freedom to really run the business and just focus on the exceptions where you’re not meeting those expectations.

In one of our businesses, my head of sales had a competitor that was really knocking on our doors and it was a very tightly competitive situation between our two companies. And his goal was specifically to target customers from that organization. The specific goal was at our head-to-head sales against this competitor, to win at least 70 percent of those opportunities. When we go through our weekly one-on-ones, we would sit down and go through the sales from the prior week and walk through the head-to-head wins and losses. That allowed us to really focus and collaborate on when we lost to this particular competitor, why were we losing? And we could come up with specific strategies to make sure we were positioned well in the future.

It really guides the conversation and keeps us focused on where we’re missing. Because one of the other things I talk about in the book is autonomy. You don’t want to be all over your people all the time, which is something that entrepreneurs struggle with. So this methodology allows you to really focus on areas that are not meeting expectations and allows you to collaborate well to make sure that you achieve the goals you set up with the company.

About “Love Your People” by Jeff Gardner
Love over fear is the key to exceptional leadership. ‘Love Your People’ shatters conventional wisdom by advocating for a love-based approach that sparks unparalleled organizational success. Through gripping narratives, bold insights, and disruptive guidance, this manifesto redefines love as a strategic weapon, unleashing innovation, autonomy, and transparency. It challenges fear-driven leadership paradigms, igniting empowerment and championing personal growth and collaboration.  

Pick up your copy of Love Your People – An Entrepreneurial Leadership System at Amazon

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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