Friday, March 8, 2013

Meet & Exceed Expectations (Reprise)


This is a reprint from August 2011. This applies to our series to earn the biggest raises & better jobs.

You must meet management’s expectations if you wish to avoid layoffs. You must exceed their expectations to get the biggest raises and the better promotions. Then, you must communicate your return on investment to management. While this seems simple, most workers fail to do the first. Even more fail to do the second. Barely 10% do the last. We will deal with meeting and exceeding expectations this week and how to communicate return on investment next week.

Bennie’s Story

Bennie managed a small, out-of-the-way operation of an international corporation. His efforts could have gone unnoticed, except Bennie understood how to meet & exceed expectations. He discovered that the corporation published some of their expectations, but did not publish others.

Bennie began to explore those unpublished expectations. He found the production goal, how much he was supposed to produce, well known. He also found what effect his production should have on the clients, and how management measured it. He had to dig deep to discover that management measured the cost of each production item to determine the efficiency of each operation. In addition, they measured the efficiency of how many hours it took to produce each unit. While management did not post the cost per unit or the hour per unit expectation, they tracked it at headquarters.

Bennie discovered all of the metrics that headquarters used to measure productivity, effectiveness, efficiency, and quality. He created graphs to track the progress of his operation compared to headquarters' expectations.. Bennie began working on improving his performance on each of the expectations. He first met their expectations. Then, he exceeded them. He shared better, faster, more effective ways to do the job. He communicated his improvements with management.

Over the next three years, he shared his improvements with other managers. Headquarters asked him to present at various internal conferences. He gained a reputation for excellent service. Finally, Bennie received a promotion to headquarters where his insights to meet and exceed expectations improved all the operations throughout the world.

He continued meeting and exceeding expectations so well, that he is ending his career in a job he loves doing, among the isles of the Caribbean Ocean.

Employee Responsibility to Discover Expectations

Unfortunately, few companies communicate their expectations effectively to employees. Yet, the responsibility to discover and meet expectations remains with employees.  You probably will need to use several sources of information to discover all the expectations. May I suggest just a few sources you may select:

  • Read published information in operations guidelines, human resource manuals, job descriptions, and other company texts
  • Ask specific questions of your co-workers, supervisor, and human resource workers
  • Discuss company expectations with your mentor and network within the company
  • Identify possible benchmarks (comparisons of production of different companies in similar industries) through trade or professional associations or private consulting firms.

These represent just a few of the sources of information you can use. Now, let’s discuss what questions you may ask.

PEEQ: A Simple Way to Define Expectations

The acronym PEEQ represents productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, and quality. PEEQ provides a simple method for outlining typical expectations. You can use the formula to structure your questions in the following manner:

  • What is my expected productivity?
    • How many units (pieces, pages, words per minute, sales, contracts, etc.) do you expect me to produce per hour (day, week, month, quarter, year).
    • How much money do you expect me to earn (or save) for the company?
    • How many clients do you expect me to service per day? Traffic in the office or store?
  • How do you measure my efficiency?
    • What time, money, overhead, or other costs are used to cover my work?
    • Have you set a cost per unit, hour per unit, or other measure of my efficiency?
    • How do you think I could improve my efficiency?
  • How do you measure the effectiveness of my work?
    • What do you want my portion of the work to impact on our business?
    • How does my contribution add to the bottom line of our department?
    • How could my efforts improve satisfaction of our clients?
  • How do you measure the quality of my work?
    • What constitutes failure on the part of my work? Prevent satisfaction?
    • How could I improve the quality of my work? Or our final product?
    • Would you be interested in ideas to improve the quality of my work?

Once you verify the production, efficiency, effectiveness, and quality management expects from you; you can begin planning how to meet their expectations. Once you meet their expectations, you can begin to exceed them. Meeting and exceeding expectations will help you get the biggest raises and the better assignments or promotions. However, only if you communicate your return on investment to management.

Next week we will explore how to communicate your return on investment to management.

Here’s wishing you more money, better living.

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