How to Manage Expectations – The Vastly Underutilized Skill


Managing expectations is a vastly underutilized skill, in my opinion. Not everyone does it, but maybe if more did, we could avoid a lot of the day-to-day drama that goes on in every office.

Folks who know how to manage expectations are able to more seamlessly navigate the choppy waters of their business. Why? Because they know how to communicate, organize, and direct conversations around things getting done.

Follow these three practical tips to improve your own ability to manage expectations.

Make No Assumptions

People often get into hot water when they assume a co-worker, vendor, or supervisor knows what they expect or even what they’re talking about. My first piece of advice is making sure you get context.

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming someone has the same understanding of a situation, project, deadline, or task that you do. You can avoid this pitfall by having a conversation in which you openly discuss what’s expected, how it might be accomplished, and how success will be measured. Remember to leave plenty of opportunities for questions. This is also the time to agree and commit to what will be delivered, when. When something is going to be completed is one of the most common points of miscommunication. Which leads me to my next tip…

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

One of the best ways to manage expectations is to make sure you communicate with everyone on a frequent basis. In the early stages of a new project or as a key milestone or deadline approaches, you may want to even over-communicate.

Sure, it might be more work on your part, but it’s especially important if you have a new team that isn’t used to working together, or new leadership that may not have developed a level of trust in the team’s ability to deliver. Better safe than sorry.

By holding frequent check-ins throughout the course of a project, you also have the chance to provide real-time status updates and manage any delays, risks, or blockers. When you’re proactively honest and transparent in your communication, you have room to put a plan B in place, if needed, or the flexibility of making new decisions as you move toward the finish line. Being honest about a delay is a thousand times better than promising to deliver and then missing your deadline.

Pushing Back is OK

A huge piece of managing expectations is the actual expectation, right?

You have to be comfortable that the expectations are realistic and achievable. If they’re not, you can–and should–push back. The key here is pushing back in a way that balances the organization’s needs and the team’s abilities. Being open about what can be delivered and what the plan is to bring in the rest can go a long way in instilling confidence and getting the go-ahead. If you can nail the fine art of pushback, you’ve won half the battle of managing expectations successfully.

This article by VerticalResponse CEO and founder Janine Popick originally appeared on

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The post How to Manage Expectations – The Vastly Underutilized Skill appeared first on VR Marketing Blog.

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Minorities in tech: A vastly under-tapped market



As the economy gets stronger, jobs in the tech sector continue to boom. Every month around 9,600 technology-related jobs are added. Which is why teaching technology — be it MOOCs, code camps, meetups — has become such a popular entrepreneurial endeavor over the past few years.

But not everyone has been catching the wave. Minorities and women represent a tiny fraction of the robust technology economy. The good news, I suppose, is that there are advocates and leaders out there trying to fix this. And, well, they have their work cut out for them. South by Southwest held a fascinating, albeit depressingly under-attended, panel on this issue with a few of these leaders.

To give you a sense of the inequality gap Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and executive director of the minority engineer advocacy program CODE2040, says the average income of a computer science graduate equals the median income of one black and one latino family combined. That is, one engineer rakes in more cash than two entire families.

That’s why she views her role as so important. “There’s a deep need for technical talent,” she told the audience. “There will be a million jobs in tech unfilled by 2020.”

A great deal of what she does is to seek out universities that have top minority engineers of which most companies aren’t aware. CODE2040 has mapped out and connected with institutions it considers underserved by current recruiters. “[Tech companies] think they’e tapped the talent pool, and what we’re saying is ‘no, you have not,”” Powers said.

The pitfalls that minority students face come from myriad angles. For one, many minority students lack the guidance to help prove themselves to potential employees. “We saw that students who were technically talented weren’t presented in a way that companies would recognize as being right for them,” Powers said. For instance, many students believe GPA should be the top priority to secure a job. For many companies, however, exhibiting side projects is just as important. Students who have not received the proper coaching may not know that and opt to overload on classes instead of spearheading a coding club.

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To the panelists, this issue is just as important as it is time sensitive. “Systems and cultures calcify over time and tech is relatively new,” said Mario Lugay of the Kapor Center for Social Impact. “The longer we wait, the longer it calcifies.” That’s why he and the others see their roles as making sure people are talking about diversity in tech, which can lead to action.

The flip side, of course, is that while people love to talk about diversity in the abstract, the specifics can get uncomfortable — especially for such a white male dominated industry. “How do you have a conversation like this with a white guy, which is probably 75 percent of the time?” Powers asked. Her answer: just do it. “This is awkward, but what’s important is that we’re talking about it.”

Half the battle, then, is just having this conversation. And many tech companies, it seems, are turning a blind eye. “The inability to recognize the root causes of this inequality is tech’s greatest inefficiency,” Lugay said. “The subtle biases that plague the tech sector make not-so-subtle distortions.”

There are no easy solutions. Ultimately, if tech companies are to fill the ever-increasing slots for jobs, they may have to shift the dominant culture. The way to do this may be to have these difficult conversations Powers alluded to and seek out new recruiting avenues.

As Powers put it, tech companies ought to be “[looking] at it through the lens of market opportunity.” While these panelists could be considered activists, to them they’re just market analysts exhibiting an untapped supply.