How to Realign Expectations when They Become Unrealistic

As a facility manager, managing expectations is a large part of the job. You may take all the precautions necessary to set straight any unrealistic expectations from the start, but what happens when in the middle of a project, communications dwindle and expectations become unaligned between the facility manager and the end user? Here are some tips to making expectations realistic if they have become unrealistic:

1. Be Proactive. There is no reason to fixate on the past, so as the facility manager is up to you to look to the future. Being proactive regarding the next step will help with moving forward towards a successful end goal. Be practical with a set plan on what expectations need attention. Begin an open line of communication with the end user and explain what progress has been made and any updated deadlines. Road bumps happen, but it is up to the facility manager to make sure that the end user is informed and up-to-date with any new information or deadlines.

2. Track Progress. A facility manager will most likely have a great support team that knows their individual jobs toward the overall end goal. However, a skilled facility manager will not only understand the expectations of the end user, but they would also understand the expectations the team has of the project, both as a whole and individually. By tracking progress, and knowing the small deadlines, the facility manager can inform the team of what the progress towards the end project is like. Have a standardized checklist, and even if you have fallen behind, know that the checklist is there to help get back on track. Is it also important to continue to share the progress of the checklist with all team members to manage the expectations accordingly.

3. Take responsibility. We all make mistakes; it is almost inevitable. A facility manager is in charge of managing the project from start to finish, so encountering an obstacle, whether it is big or small is expected. The expectations of a project are not the only things that need to be managed, but the expectations of a facility manager’s work are something to consider as well. A facility manager that handles a slipup with grace is much more desirable than one that points fingers and blames team members. Taking responsibility for all aspects of the project, good or bad, a facility manager will manage expectations successfully.

4.  Learn professional empathy. This point is aligned with taking responsibility, but a crucial part of realigning expectations throughout the duration of a project is learning how to handle expectations once they have become unrealistic. As a kid you were told to put yourself into someone else’s shoes to understand their perspective. As a facility manager, pretend it is your company that you are facility managing for. A company has naturally high expectations from the start, and expectations are dynamic through the project duration. Learning professional empathy, and understanding how to incorporate it into managing expectations, will settle any unrealistic ones in the process by offering perspective.

Mistakes and bumps in the road will most likely occur during any project, but it is up to the facility manager to manage the expectations on how the situation is handled. A skilled facility manager will know exactly how to manage the expectations and realign them throughout the process, and will make the process as seamless as possible. At HF Planners, we have adept facility managers that are prepared for any type of bump that could impose on a project, and are able to handle it with ease. Call HF Planners today to see how we can manage your project and meet all of your expectations!