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!

How a Dacility Manager Learns Which Expectations to Manage

As a facility manager, it is imperative to know what expectations you are expected to manage. You are in charge of spearheading the project and ensuring a satisfied finished outcome within time and budget constraints all while keeping the end user happy. Where does a facility manager begin to learn and understand which expectations to manage? Here are four ways to learn how to be the best facility manager possible through managing expectations:

1. Standardization: There are processes that have taken place prior to ensure that each benchmark is completed successfully. Learning the standardization of a facility management process, from design to planning to installation is a useful thing to understand when managing expectations. Familiarizing yourself with the skeleton of a normal workflow behind each project will help set a familiar precedent that will guarantee end user satisfaction because there will be a clear path to completion from the start. The end user will have defined expectations from the start.

2. Networking: A facility manager has to manage the expectations of a project, but of themselves as well. They are expected to have the tools ready and sharp to complete a successful project. Learning how to network will help expedite processes and help the overall project. A facility manager is responsible for procurement and knowing vendors. Networking is a way to building strong relationships and knowledge of competitors, prices, and working styles. This familiarity helps a facility manager understand what expectations need to be managed and how to do so by having the right connections ready for any project they may encounter.

3. Practice Sharing: Naturally, there will always be competition to be the best facility manager, but why not make friends in the process? A mentor, a friend, or simply other colleagues, will have tips and anecdotes from past projects. Learning and sharing is key to understanding what the best practices are for managing expectations. Knowing what went well, and even what might have gone wrong, adds to the knowledge of managing expectations and how a facility manager can better themselves for future opportunities.

4.  Feedback: Learning how to take feedback, both positive and negative, is a crucial learning step to managing expectations. Each end user will have their own reservations about a project, but as a facility manager it is crucial to know what went well and what did not. Learning and growing from past experiences will dictate which expectations need to be addressed from the start. Feedback can be included with networking and practice sharing, because it can include the feedback of all facility managers. This is a vital step to learning how to manage expectations.

Learning how to manage expectations as a facility manager can be difficult, but imperative to become successful. A facility manager gains their knowledge on how to manage expectations through experience, but also through the steps above! At HF Planners, we have experienced facility managers that are skilled in managing expectations. Call us today to ensure that your next project will be managed seamlessly from start to finish.

The Top Five Priorities of a Facility Manager to Managing Expectations

One of the most important skills as a facility manager is managing expectations. It is difficult to prioritize tasks while maintaining a happy workplace, but it is completely doable! Keeping these five points in mind, expectations will be managed, and satisfaction will be at an all-time high.

1. Safety and Compliances

Safety and compliances are at the top of the list for ensuring the well-being and security of clients and employees, as well as everyone working in a facility. All bad plumbing, electrical, and design flaws should be of immediate concern and at the top of the list. The expectation here is that, as a facility manager, you are maintaining a safe working environment for all parties. Keeping up with compliances and codes will manage the expectations that you care about your work.

2. Understanding the End User’s Final Goal

Understanding what the end user wants is a large component of the job as a facility manager! Yes, you are there to do your job, but no project is the same and expected outcomes may differ from project to project. You are in the service industry, as a facility manager, serving up a great outcome according to the end-user is what you should strive for! Manage their expectations from the get-go and take the time to fully comprehend what the final results should be according to the project.

3. Flexibility with Communication Styles

This ties into being able to understand the goals and wishes for the project and managing the expectations in the process. As a facility manager, there should be the understanding that you are working for the end user. Communicate early on what you expect from them and ask what they expect of you. Be clear with how you work, what type of communication you prefer, and also let the customers communicate how they like as well.

4. Longevity versus a Quick Fix

As stated above, you are expected to complete the job and manage expectations in the process. You are there to complete the job with as a few problems as possible on the day to day basis while keeping the end goal in mind. With that said, it is important to look at the end goal in terms of longevity instead of using quick fixes. Everyone loves instant gratification, but it is prudent to look to the future satisfaction. A quick fix might lead to more problems down the road, but a solution that may take more time and effort might be better for client satisfaction for the long term.

5. Documentation

One of the last priorities to keep in mind would be keeping everything documented. As a facility manager it is your job to know what the client said and wants. Do not walk around saying that you will remember what was said in a meeting or on the phone. Documentation of conversations, contracts, compliances, and all the extraneous materials needed to get the job done ensures a higher satisfaction. This will manage the end user’s expectation by reassuring that they are in the right hands and can trust that the job will be done well.

Keeping the priorities of a facility manager in mind, expectations can be properly managed and client satisfaction can be met! Whether it’s abiding by security guidelines, complying with a final vision, supervising and maintaining open communication, planning for a successful future, or making sure there is documentation to refer back to, HF Planners has experienced facility managers to manage all of your expectations. Need help starting a project? Contact us today to find out how we can help keep projects moving and on time to meet the deadlines.   

Managing Expectations 101

In an ideal workplace, you understand exactly what is expected of you and what you expect from the people around you. However, often times things are lost in translation or simply not stated at all. There is a way to hone in on the skill that eradicates all doubts and unknowns for employees and employers expecting outcomes. This skill is called managing expectations. At any level, you have the opportunity to clearly lay out the plans and rules about what is expected of your employees, bosses or colleagues from the start! Managing expectations is an underrated skill that ensures satisfaction on all ends from manager to employee to customer. Here are a few sure ways to sharpen the tools you need to help with managing expectations:

1. This is an applicable statement for most things in life: it is best not to make assumptions. Do not assume someone understands completely without asking. It is wise not to assume the person completing the task will do everything perfectly, and do not assume that everything will occur seamlessly. With that being said, it is best to be clear with everything from the start. Set clear guidelines and write them down either on paper or via email to set the standard. Something that the employee will be able to refer back to after instructions were given is an extremely useful system.

2. Be realistic. Did you hire humans or robots? Chances are you hired humans, and mistakes will happen.  Encourage questions by setting this reassurance up in advance. You are more likely to have employees who are comfortable to address an issue early on if it arises and quickly diffuse a situation. With smaller, more achievable goals, the motivation will remain high through the entirety of a project. The end goal will seem less daunting. If employees know that their expectations are reasonable, they feel comfortable to ask for help when needed.

3. Have concrete guidelines. Define what success means to you as a manager (or an employee). The expectations should be mutually understood regarding what success looks like for the context of the company and role by providing or asking for examples of previous work from past successes. Another element of success is to ask about what should be prioritized. Everyone has different opinions on what should be prioritized if it is not explicitly stated. Also, having concrete deadlines for documents like permits and compliances complete tasks more efficiently. Without any assumptions (back to point one!) there will be no confusion when things should be done, and the road to the end goal will be a smooth ride.

4. The common theme of all of these points is communication. Being upfront with communication styles is key and can properly manage expectations on all sides. This allows for managers and employees to share the important information correctly. Communicate what work needs to be done and whose responsibility it is. Communicate with appraisal when work has been done well and communicate effectively when work has not been done to satisfaction. Whatever it may be, communicate accordingly and effectively. No one wants to be left in the dark, and clear communication benefits all parties.

Managing expectations can be a very simple task keeping in mind that that no one is a mind reader, and you as an employee, client or manager is responsible for ensuring that communications is clear and all expectations are met!

At HF Planners, we have the experts in managing expectations through detailed facility planning and facility management. During our different phases of design, we can accurately plan and tailor to meet based on schedule, budget, and deadlines. We are able to manage expectations by providing clear communication and materials throughout the entire process. You will never feel in the dark when you work with us! Interested in finding out more? Contact us today!

Five Ways to Handle Unrealistic Deadlines

by: Caroline Shelly

“Due to the nature of the profession, FMs are often expected to perform miracles under strict time constraints. However, when you continuously perform miracles, the end user starts to believe they are no longer miracles, but expected events. So how does the Facility Manager educate the end user on what constitutes a realistic deadline? Here are five ways to curtail unrealistic deadline expectations.”

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