top of page
Podcast Transcript

High Performing Teams Expectations

Marsha Clark  0:00  
This episode is being sponsored by Amazech which is a women's business enterprise that has a proven track record of driving business transformation through technology and talent. Amazech's culture is defined by two key values, making a positive impact at every step and giving back to the community. Visit to learn more about them.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:37  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. And so Marsha, welcome back yet again. Welcome back to our listening leaders as this week we're kicking off a new three part series on building and leading high performing teams.

Marsha Clark  1:00  
Well, thank you very much, Wendi, and welcome back to you as well. And welcome back to our listeners. Yes, we are going to be breaking down the topic of building and leading high performing teams. And we're breaking it into three episodes. Today's focus is on the first step in building that team, which is setting clear expectations and everything that goes into that very critical foundational step. And then next week, we're going to be talking about how to address the inevitable obstacles that are going to pop up in every team. And the third episode in the series is where we're going to explore feedback and as well as celebrate successes, and we're going to cover that in some some detail.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:40  
Excellent. Well, I really appreciate these little mini series workshops that we do where we get to dive a little deeper into important topics and tools.

Marsha Clark  1:50  
I do too, Wendi. And you know, I love these short series because they allow us to cover a lot of ground without overloading any one episode because we could pack a lot in but it would be about three hours long. And I know that our listeners will appreciate that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:05  
Exactly. Well, let's get started with a reflection question for our listeners. So, in your new book, "Expanding Your Power", you do something really cool in this chapter, and I think it's going to be chapter four. And in that chapter you remind your readers that they have likely been or will be part of many teams and whether that's work teams, family teams, community teams, sports teams, etc. And then you say, I'll bet that you can name some of those teams that were extra special where everyone got along well, followed through on their commitments, they trusted and respected each other, delighted their customer, delivered great results and had fun doing it. So I want to ask our listeners to do just that. Think about a team or teams that you were on that were extra special, where they were a high performing team. And then for a moment, think about what you think it was that made that team or the team members, what they did that made that so special.

Marsha Clark  3:11  
You know, I love the idea of that, Wendi, and that's why I did it in the book, of course. Because I think, you know, look I'm old and I've been on a lot of teams. So, let's just get that out of the way. And I do remember because it's a handful of teams that stand out above the rest. So let's take that quick pause while our listeners reflect on any of those high performing teams that they've been a part of. And if you're doing this while you're listening, take a moment to pause the recording and think about what made, or makes if you're currently on one of those teams, what made those teams so special. And, Wendi, even as you reflect on your own experience, I'm assuming you've been a part of some high performing teams.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:55  
Yes, yes, I have both in corporate America and leading a high performing team as an entrepreneur.

Marsha Clark  4:01  
Yeah, so what made those teams work so well?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:03  
Well, in corporate America, I think the team that I was a part of, we all had different skill sets. We all had different expectations from the client that were different for all of us. And we all had the skill sets and the experience to deliver what the client was expecting and then beyond. And because we were all from different, had different backgrounds and had different levels or different areas of expertise, it really came together to be everyone understanding that they were their own piece of the puzzle. And the final puzzle was all of us fitting together, if you will. And honestly that's the same experience that I had in my entrepreneurial experience. But I do want to also add in my entrepreneurial experience leading that high performing team, I allowed people as much room to make their own decisions as I could. That was a big function in that environment.

Marsha Clark  5:13  
I love that. And I'm smiling here because it's familiar. It's something we can each resonate with.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:21  
Exactly. So, what about you, Marsha? I'm sure you've been a part of some amazing teams, what do you recall? What are the characteristics?

Marsha Clark  5:28  
So, I was trying to sort of do the collective, right. So, what were my themes that went from one team to the next and, and I think the very first piece for me was the clarity around, you can call it the mission, the vision, the purpose, the strategy, something that was a unifying factor. And I would say that that is a part of even what we're going to talk about today, there were clear expectations around what it took to achieve that mission or vision. And I think commitment to support each other, and whoever our customer was. So in one team, I'm thinking about it was a true customer, right, a paying customer, if you will, in my corporate life, and then even the internal customers. And to me, those are even harder sometimes because you have so many. The third is that there was high trust, and there was mutual trust. We trusted each other to do what we needed to do to make it happen. If somebody said they were going to do something, they did it. If somebody committed to supporting me, they did and that kind of thing. There was timely and constructive feedback and and timely being appropriate. I mean, if it was negative, it was private. And if it was, you know, accolades, it was public and that sort of thing for both the positive behaviors as well as the needs for improvement behaviors. And as you said, competent team members, people knew what they needed to do and carried out their jobs well. And the last piece is, I think back on it, and something that kind of made them different, we had fun.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:07  
I should have said that, too, for both of the team examples that I gave. We definitely had fun.

Marsha Clark  7:11  
Yeah! And I think it's because when you're having fun, there's laughter, there's joy, there's less pressure because you're performing well. And so I'm really glad that we took a moment to do that quick reflection. And it really does set us up well, I think, for this exploration of high performing teams and our specific focus today on the very first step, expectations.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:36  
Awesome. Let's jump in. Okay, so you open up this chapter with a popular and classical model of how teams evolve, the Tuckman model. So for our listeners who are unfamiliar with this model, will you share a little bit about that?

Marsha Clark  7:52  
Yes, and I'm sure most people know this model. They just don't know it is the Tuckman model. When I first learned that I went, "Oh, there is, you know, somebody who developed this!" So, this model is both popular and classical. And it certainly stood the test of time. And there's only been one major modification since it was first introduced in, yes long ago, 1965 by Bruce Tuckman. And the original model describe four stages of team development or evolution. And that is, forming, storming, norming, performing. (Oh God, remember that.) Forming, storming, norming, performing. All right, so in 1977, Tuckman, along with Maryann Jensen, added a fifth stage, which was adjourning. So forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning. And in the forming stage, the team meets and learns about opportunities and challenges, and then agrees on team norms and goals and then begins to tackle the tasks.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:01  
Okay, so for me, this is one of the most exciting times of building a team. It's all about those initial connections, trying to figure out how I fit in, how I can contribute to the team's purpose. And, you know, I guess it's a little bit of the honeymoon phase, if you will, for the team or at least that's been my experience. But my personality is definitely drawn to new things, to startups, to entrepreneurial environments, to tackling new challenges or issues. And so that's probably why I really like the forming and the norming phases of new teams.

Marsha Clark  9:38  
Yeah, I think you and I have that in common. I'm also attracted to this phase of building teams. And the startup is exciting, like you say, and kicking things off, creating some initial foundation for how the team is going to function. And I would tell our listeners at this phase, clarity is critical. We, as leaders of those teams, need to ensure that we're clear on roles, we're clear on the goals, we're clear on the structure, and as the episode is titled, we're clear on the expectations.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:09  
Ah, yes. Okay, so the next phase is storming. What's going on in that phase?

Marsha Clark  10:16  
Well, if as you said, the forming stage is the honeymoon phase, this is where the glow of the honeymoon is wearing off, right? Reality is setting in. And people tend to be on their best behavior, quite honestly, in what I would describe as even polite in the forming stage. But at this point in the development of the team, you know, the sleeves are beginning to be rolled up, people are starting to challenge one another more. We're having to ask tougher questions and maybe even pushing back on some of our earlier assumptions or even our earlier agreements. And so this is where power factions, subgroups begin to form. And these are almost like little alliances, if you will.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:59  
Oh, my God, I'm having flashbacks to "Survivor" and "House of Cards". All of those.

Marsha Clark  11:04  
Yes, yes. All of them, all of those subjects. Well, that's the kind of energy that shows up in this stage of team development, and alliances that advance individual or sub team agendas begin to emerge. They just become more obvious. And, so, people are often testing their power and their influence in the group. And team members aren't just pushing back on each other. They might also be pushing back on you as the leader.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:32  
So, then what can leaders do specifically to help teams through this stage? It sounds painful, almost.

Marsha Clark  11:40  
Well, it can be painful, and it's also part of the natural evolutionary process. So, I've often referred to it as I guess you could call it growing pains. It must be growth because it sure is painful, right? And it doesn't have to be debilitating. But it does need to be recognized and addressed in a realistic way. And so, leaders, our responsibility is that we need to coach and guide the team through some of these rough spots. And that sometimes is done in a collective way and other times in an individual way. And it really requires honest dialogue. And we're back to talking about vulnerability based trust again, and that's an important value to model here as the leader. And this is part of why we talked about the critical nature of building trust in our previous episode on building psychological safety in the episode we did last week. And you simply can't move through this storming phase without a strong commitment to building and maintaining trust.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:46  
Yeah, I know we're going to talk a little more about that in detail after we work through this whole model, right?

Marsha Clark  12:53  
Yes. So, to move through the rest of the model, we're going to shift to the norming stage, which is where the team members all take responsibility for and have the ambition to work for the success of the team's goals. My individual agendas, my subgroup agendas are gone. We're all here for the success of the team's goals. And as the leader, you've coached and supported your team so that they're not working through their challenge, so that they are now working through their challenges in a productive functional way. And it's kind of like the rough spots are all getting smoothed out.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:29  
Right. So I've always been a little curious on this because, to me, norming already sounds like performing. So what's the difference?

Marsha Clark  13:39  
Yeah, that's a good question, Wendi. And the team is starting to perform in the norming stage and yet it's still tentative, okay. So the performing stage is literally where the team is able to consistently perform at high levels day in, day out. And they're doing that relatively independently. At that phase, the team is self organized and self directed in many ways. Team members are, they're self motivated, they're knowledgeable, they're competent, they're working independently or autonomously. And they're even able to handle many of the decisions that need to be made.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:19  
Okay, so that makes sense. Performing isn't just producing. It really is high performing that we're talking about.

Marsha Clark  14:27  
Yes and that's quite a nice distinction. So, that's also why we use the term high performing when we teach this content in workshops, because we want to be clear on this distinction that our target is that level of autonomy and effectiveness.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:43  
Got it. Okay. Then the last phase that was added later is called adjourning, which is where the team disbands after they've achieved their goals?

Marsha Clark  14:53  
Well, that's right and and I appreciate, quite honestly, that this stage was added because I think teams can go on interminably, and they don't need to because it really does allow teams to have closure on the project that they've been working on as well as acknowledging and even celebrating their accomplishments and quite honestly celebrating each other. And it can be a tough time for some team members when the group disbands, right, because especially if it's a high performing team, they've developed strong relationships and these have usually been, that are usually built on these kinds of teams. And there's an emotional connection to the work itself, to the mission of the team and as well as an emotional connection to their teammates. So, taking the time as a leader to recognize this phase really helps the team transition to their next roles in a way that honors them in their work. I often think about it as putting a bow on it. I mean, so you didn't just wrap the present, you put a bow on it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:54  
Right. So, I've seen this model many times in various leadership programs or articles. And I've often wondered about the linear way that it's always presented, because teams don't always follow that perfect linear path, do they? I mean, are there are times when teams might go back from performing to storming or even further back?

Marsha Clark  16:18  
Yeah, that's it's a great observation, Wendi. And you're right, team evolution isn't perfectly linear, like most things in life aren't perfectly linear. There are numbers of interruptions or disruptions that can cause a team to shift backward from one stage to another. Now what what could those things be? Those interruptions or disruptions could be the introduction of a new team member and even a new leader. How many times have we started a project with one leader and ended with another and, it can definitely take a team from performing back to storming. And depending on the, if you call it volume or quantity of changes, you can even go back to square one. And this is one reason why it's so important for leaders to be aware of these stages and really mindful of where the team is in that evolution or that process. So, our approaches leaders needs to flex based on where the team is, in order to continue creating the highest levels of engagement and performance.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:19  
Marsha, you also introduce another model in this chapter that may not be as familiar to our listeners as the Tuckman model is, and this one comes from Gallup, right?

Marsha Clark  17:30  
Yes and this is one that I really spend time and teach, too. So, the framework was adapted from Gallup's work in this area of building high performing teams. And I want to give credit to my dear friend and colleague, Jerry Magar, who's taught me so much on this topic. Jerry and I met through SMU where he worked for them and we were doing an advanced Leadership Program, and this goes back many years, 20 years probably. And I have facilitated and co-facilitated with him many times since and have great respect for Jerry and he's been a teacher to me on many things in this is another one of those. So, for our listeners, the framework includes five major components. And of course, this is all going to be laid out in the book in graphic form. But if you can think about this backdrop of trust, and if you think back to what we talked about in our last episode around psychological safety, those go hand in hand. So, that's one component. The second is setting clear expectations. And I would say developing, which is kind of like setting but developing, communicating and aligning expectations is the the expansion I would make on that part number two, component two. The third is removing obstacles. The fourth is providing feedback. And the fifth is celebrating successes.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:57  
Okay, so now I'm seeing the connection between the model and our three part series that we're doing. You're basically unpacking the model over these three episodes, right?

Marsha Clark  19:08  
That's right. That's exactly right. So the framework is centered on this concept of trust, and again, interconnected with building psychological safety. And I also spent a considerable amount of time in my first book sharing the behaviors that build trust. So I just want to remind our listeners that if you want to go deeper into that particular topic, we did three specific podcast episodes, and they were episode numbers 22 ,23 and 25 all the way back to early 2022 on trust. And again as a reference and a resource, that material is from the decades of work that has been done by Dr. Dennis Reyna and Dr. Michelle Reyna in their book and it's entitled "Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace". And I think it's pretty obvious to anybody who's ever talked to me for very long, they recognize that I see trust as the heart of building and sustaining, strong relationships and strong teams. And I strongly recommend to our listeners that as leaders, you spend time building your knowledge and skills to build these mutually trusting relationships because it's foundational to everything. It's vital to your interpersonal relationships as well as your pretend participation in and your leadership of teams and groups. And, then one further note, the more you practice and experience the four steps of building high performance teams, trust is going to be sustained and deepened, which is, oh what a gift and I will also remind our listeners that trust is built, sustained, or broken in every interaction we have with another and every conversation, every email, every meeting, and even the nonverbal cues that we may or may not recognize that we're sending, but that person is receiving and interpreting those. And so, again, we're now back to slow down to speed up. And here's the three sentences that I would offer up: Get clear. Be thoughtful. Be intentional.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:21  
Yeah, one thing that I recall about the Reyna trust model is that they also emphasize the importance of managing expectations.

Marsha Clark  21:29  
That's right. And as part of their dimensions of trust model, they introduced what they call the three C's of trust. So, trust of one C, capability, trust of second C, communication, and trust of third C, character. And managing expectations, which is one of the behaviors that they identify that builds trust is under that third dimension, the trust of character. And I love that they refer to that dimension as what, quote unquote, "sets the tone and direction of teamwork, explaining that it is the starting point of a team relationship". And so, for me, expectations are a great segue from trust as the first step in building a high performance team. Before you can manage expectations, you have to develop, communicate, and align them with everyone on your team.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:25  
Yeah, I thought it's really interesting in your book how you break down expectations into three different types. And I hadn't really thought of expectations in that way. But it's true the way you explain them. And it helped me to see how I'm already able to be more clear. So please share with everyone those three different types of expectations.

Marsha Clark  22:49  
Yes, they've been very helpful to me as well, both in my own experience as well as the coaching and teaching roles that I have. So, the first type of expectation is the one we're all quite honestly, probably the most familiar with. And these are the expectations that you know you have, you've communicated them to others, your team members, your, your boss, your customer, your family, your neighbors, your board member, you know, peers and so on. And the two of you, whoever you've shared them with, are aligned on what you really mean.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:23  
Yeah, so I'm clear on my expectations. I've clearly shared them, and whoever I've shared them with is also clear. Lots of clarity happening here.

Marsha Clark  23:34  
And that is the point, right? So, the challenge here is often ensuring that you and whoever you're communicating with are truly on because you know we can use the same words and mean different things.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:46  
Yes, that is the challenge. So what suggestion do you have to ensure that alignment?

Marsha Clark  23:52  
Yeah. Nothing takes the place of using specific examples of what you mean because, as I said, we can be using the very same words and the meanings are very different things. You think of it one way, I think of it another. And you likely have communicated your expectations periodically and in real time when you're leading your team. And when you communicate in these ways, remember that not everybody is going to see them in the bigger term. So, you know, I can give you an expectation on Project A, I can give you a different expectation on Project B, when I really expected A and B on both projects, right, that kind of thing. And so they understand these expectations in whatever situation it might have. But we want them to see this as an overarching day in, day out expectation thing. And so to transfer experience or expectations across broader projects, you need to be very clear and specific. Walk through an example and make sure that what they're interpreting and assuming and concluding is what you intend. And, and don't assume that your team members are going to understand and make it clear that it's a broader expectation.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:07  
Got it. Okay. So, it's easy to make assumptions that people's interpretation of information is the same as ours. So, what you're saying is we need to be extra careful to check and double check on that meaning.

Marsha Clark  25:20  
Well, that's right, because I would say that unmet expectations are one of the biggest breakdowns in the workplace. So, the only time to safely assume something is if you're assuming that your assumptions are different than another person. So, what I mean by that, I think people don't want to come across as being too simplistic or even micromanaging. Because some of the time they say, "Really, I have to tell them that?" and I say "Yes". And, you know, this idea, and I say to people, I'm not, this is not intended to be micromanaging. This is intended to provide clarity for you and me. And quite honestly, I'd rather err on the side of making sure our assumptions are alignment versus risking the misalignment and therefore the breakdown.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:11  
Exactly. It happens on even some of the best teams that I've been a part of. And it's frustrating because you think you really did have everyone and everything lined up.

Marsha Clark  26:21  
Yeah, absolutely. It happens to even the best teams, as you said, and so we just can't get complacent. And we have to stay vigilant in our clarity and our communication. And that's a nice segue to the second kind of expectation, which is one that you have, and yet you've not communicated it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:41  
The psychic expectations.

Marsha Clark  26:43  
The mind-reading. And since you haven't communicated it, by golly, you can't have been aligned on it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:49  
Yup. So, give us an example of that.

Marsha Clark  26:52  
All right. So, these expectations, what I found in doing this work now for so many years, often fall into the category called common sense. Well, it's just common sense. And I haven't seen memes, and they're, especially from old people, we need to bring common sense back. Right? Well, that, you know, likely if you've been in the workplace for a while or you've led global teams or even multigenerational teams, you've discovered that common sense is not very common. So, don't hesitate to state what is obvious to you. And I encourage you to be truly transparent in offering your reasons for communicating these expectations. And also be open to considering other ways to work together. You know, maybe there's a new technology, new research, different marketplace conditions that require new thinking, and therefore new ways of working. And I'll now state the obvious, as we said, others can't read your mind. If you haven't shared those expectations with the people that are working with and for and around you, it's much harder to provide feedback. And there will, I guarantee you, be a greater number of breakdowns or gaps which then leads to more rework which means loss of productivity, and Lord knows we're all busy enough. We don't need to do it twice.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:11  
And I see this happening all the time. We're back to those assumptions again, in a way. I assume that everyone sees what I see or knows what I know. So I don't bother to say anything until I realize too late, nope, nobody else was thinking the same thing I was. And so I'm guilty of the mind reading assumption thing sometimes.

Marsha Clark  28:35  
Yeah. Welcome to the world of humanity. And I think if we're really being honest, we're all guilty of that. And things that seem so obvious to us just aren't as obvious to others. So, we're walking around with expectations of how things are supposed to go. And then when that doesn't happen, we're frustrated, confused, disappointed and even angry. It's a recipe for big breakdowns on teams and, dare I say, relationships in general.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:02  
Yes. So, Relationship 101 here. You know, if we took the time to just get more clear on either of these two first types of expectations, we'd reduce a lot of the conflicts right off the bat.

Marsha Clark  29:17  
Yes and it sounds so simple, doesn't it? Right, and in some ways, I just want to say it's not that hard. But what we often do is fall into this trap of complacency and we just forget to say it out loud, and which is why we get to be reminded on a regular basis of these very important concepts.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:37  
What is it that you always say, we teach what we need to learn? This is another example of where I need to keep re-learning this.

Marsha Clark  29:45  
Yeah, join the crowd. Me, too, Wendi.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:47  
Exactly. So the third type of expectation might be the most challenging of all for some people.

Marsha Clark  29:54  
Yes, I think it can be for sure. You know, the third kind of expectation is the one that you don't know you have it until it's not met. And I often refer to this one as the unconscious expectation. If you're early in your professional career, there may be more of these. And hopefully you'll discover those along the way. And I just also want to tell our listeners as you go from this unconscious to the conscious, so including all three kinds of expectations, write them down.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:28  
Yes, that helps with clarity also. So, I guess it goes without saying that it would be wildly unfair to be frustrated with people who don't meet expectations that you didn't even realize you had in the first place, right, until you're disappointed.

Marsha Clark  30:43  
That's right. And it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I mean, it's gonna. So, in reality, in both this example and the previous ones where you have the expectation but you don't communicate it, you can't hold people accountable for expectations they don't know anything about. Or if we even go back to the first example, to hold people accountable for expectations when they were communicated, but not clarified for understanding.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:10  
Yeah, no wonder there are breakdowns in teams and relationships all the time.

Marsha Clark  31:14  
It happens daily, in my, you know, coaching conversations with my clients.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:19  
So what can leaders do to increase the chances that expectations are clear and understood?

Marsha Clark  31:26  
Yeah, there are actually quite a few things that leaders can do to ensure that expectations are clear and aligned. And one of the first things I recommend to leaders is to create a template, a spreadsheet or something that allows you to track the mutual (and I'm going to emphasize mutual) expectations in key relationships.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:48  
Okay, hold on a moment, before we talk about what key relationships are. You just said an important word 'mutual', meaning your expectations of them and their expectations of you are the same.

Marsha Clark  32:03  
No, it's a good catch. And I often say it's the two sided piece of paper, right? On page one are my expectations of you. Flip it over. On page two, it's your expectations of me. They don't have to be identical. There will be some overlap. But as the leader, I have expectations of you as my team member. As a team member, you have expectations of me as your leader.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  32:25  
Okay, got it.

Marsha Clark  32:27  
All right. So, the key relationships, and I want to say this, we often think about, well, I could say this to my team members, but I could never, I could never set expectations with my boss. And I say, yes, you can. Done it many times. So, you know, and also keep in mind that some of us have team members that are direct, or it's often referred to as solid line, you know, kinds of relationships. But we also have indirect, and they can be dotted lines, or they can just be members of a special project team. So again, your expectation of them, and there's a few, you can set them with your boss, you can set them with customers or other important stakeholders. I would highly recommend that you set them with any vendors or suppliers. And you've got a lot to go on there with contracts typically. And one, this is a little different from the others, but it's critical to add, and that's helping your team members create expectations, develope them, communicate and align them with the other team members. So, I'm not, imagine a wagon wheel where I'm the spoke as the leader everything's got to come through me and then it goes back out to another team member. No. You will spend all your time doing that kind of thing. Think of the wagon wheel further and there's the wheel itself and so they can travel that outer wheel with each other versus coming into the center and having to put everything through me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:56  
Right. That's that's a great example.

Marsha Clark  33:59  
Yeah. And it's often a natural result of the norming phase of the team development that as a leader, I can accelerate that process by facilitating the clarity of the expectations and communicate them sooner rather than later for the increased effectiveness and higher performance. And Wendi, one more thing, we're talking about clarifying and aligning expectations with work teams. But I just want to say you can also use this with family members, book club members, sports team members, whatever, community, PTA, I mean, all of those things. Because I can tell you firsthand, it works.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:37  
Wow, I hadn't thought of creating a grid or a template spreadsheet for mapping or tracking my expectations of different stakeholders in my life. But I'm intrigued by this. And I'm also wondering how complicated that might get. I mean, I have a lot of people I could interact with. So, this list could get complex and I'm also concerned that I might be recording the negative aspects too much and looking at my relationships through a negative lens of look at all these people and how they do not meet my expectations.

Marsha Clark  35:13  
Disappointed, frustrated? Yeah. And I would tell you that is possible. Let's just be real about that and the risk of not having clarity in any of those relationships. And, and I'm, you know, at least start with what you consider to be key connections. So as you build these lists, you know, you might have a list for clients, key clients, not necessarily everybody, but or you can simplify it, some partners, collaborators, and so on. And quite honestly, our listeners, you know, best what you need and where there might be gaps that you want to close sooner rather than later. And, you know, to be transparent about all this, once you start writing them down, you may realize that many of your expectations are consistent and overlap from one stakeholder constituent group to another. So that simplifies it some, makes it less complicated. And I have two other suggestions for our listening leaders to help with this process. And, you know, I try to categorize expectations in a way that you can get clear on them yourself first, and then communicate them for alignment. And the one is organized around performance management elements. And the other is what I call my expectations menu.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  36:30  
Ooh, expectations menu. Okay, so first, what are the performance management elements you recommend we use to help clarify and communicate expectations?

Marsha Clark  36:41  
And this falls under the big heading of performance management. So, they seem pretty basic. And you quite honestly be surprised how many people aren't crystal clear on these three fundamental elements of managing performance. So, one. Is the person fulfilling their roles and responsibilities as included in their job description? So number one, current and accurate job description. Second, most of us go through some sort of annual cycle to set performance goals. And they can be tasks, assignments, team goals, and so on. And then the third is quantitative metrics. And, you know, I'll start with the job description. I bet most of our listeners haven't thought about their job description in a long time, especially if they've been in their current role, or even at their current organization for while. They looked at it when they got hired and that was the last time.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:36  
Exactly. Probably the only time anyone thinks about their job description is when they're looking for a new job or that promotion.

Marsha Clark  37:44  
Yeah, the job description is often part of that posting, if you will, and as the leader of a team, you know, and an important check point around performance management and managing expectations is to find the job descriptions for your team members, and really determine if they're fulfilling those roles and responsibilities that they were quite honestly hired and are being paid to do. And while you're at it, be sure to review your own. And remember, you may have team members working for you that you didn't hire. They were there when you arrived. And so don't assume that they are clear on the requirements and expectations of the job they're supposed to be doing because the previous boss didn't, you know, talk about that or expect that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  38:28  
Exactly. I mean, this seems obvious but yet, as you've been talking, I've been thinking about the fact that jobs change and morph over time as the overarching goals of the organization shift or move or economic impacts or whatever. So you may have people who were hired to do one thing, but then the requirements changed. And now they're doing something completely different. And this feels like it's only fair to do some kind of audit at least every year to make sure everyone's actually being assessed and valued for the work they really are doing.

Marsha Clark  39:04  
You're absolutely right, Wendi, and jobs do evolve. And oftentimes people start by taking on additional responsibilities. And sometimes those are never added to the job description. So there's never any official or formal record of that. And may I just say this happens to women all the time. They take on more and more responsibility, may or may not advocate for themselves to get the job code aligned with these additional responsibilities, which potentially could bump them into a higher pay scale. So, there's a real impact of that. And as a responsible, intentional leader, I encourage our listeners to take the time to check and make sure that the expectations of the organization are lining up with the actual work you and your team members are performing. And again I add getting paid to do.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  39:54  
Exactly. So what else can we do as leaders to check on alignment around performance management and expectations?

Marsha Clark  40:03  
So, all three of these elements are related, the job description, the performance goals or objectives and the quantitative metrics. So, keep in mind that we want to check that the annual performance goals and objectives are up to date and comprehensive. Most people in organizations that I work with have a pretty major or significant annual planning cycle. And maybe it follows the fiscal year calendar year and may even be tied to your annual budget cycle. But these are the projects and initiatives you and your team members are expected to complete in the upcoming year, implementing a new system, continuously improving certain processes, improving quality or productivity. And these are tied more times than not to larger departmental or business unit performance objectives. And they may even be tied to personal development goals. So you as an individual contributor want to write those down for yourself and track progress against them. And as the leader, you want to make sure that you know what those team objectives are, as well as the individual objectives.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  41:13  
I feel like that's one that most leaders know how to do and are held being held accountable for.

Marsha Clark  41:20  
Well, we don't like to think that. And you might be surprised. So, while the managers or leaders themselves may be aware of that annual performance goals or objectives, that doesn't always trickle down to the individual team members, or the leader communicates the high level goal, but doesn't necessarily translate it or, you know, individualize it if you will, for each team member. So, as an individual contributor, I may not actually understand how what I do on a day to day or week to week basis, really contributes to those bigger goals or objectives. Again, don't assume that people have made the connection on their own. And these goals may need to be translated down to individual projects or tasks. And I would even offer that I call it everyone needs to have a line of sight, how what they are doing day in and day out, contributes to the team goals, which contribute to the organization's goal, and whatever.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:18  
Exactly. So, what's the third element of performance management communicate for clarity of expectations?

Marsha Clark  42:25  
Right, so we've got job descriptions, we've got performance goals and objectives. And the last element is quantitative metrics. And these may be percentages that reflect acceptable or even outstanding performance. You know, for example, the percentage of problem ticket solved within 24 hours, the percentage of sales closed in the quarter or the year, the monetary amount of revenue generated, or the percent at percentage of reduced turnover. So this list could go on and on. And it's going to vary by role, by organization, by industry, and so on, even by country, dare I say? And what quantitative metrics, they might also reflect whether you're managing within your budget, because that's a quantitative, where are you in spending your annual budget, and whether or not you're hitting deliverable or milestone dates. And, obviously, any metrics that you or your team are being measured by are vitally important to communicate not only the data itself, but also why that data is relevant one, to their roles and responsibilities and two, achieving the organization's goals and objectives.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:37  
So, creating clarity around job descriptions, goals and metrics is a best practice that we all need to be reminded of as we're building out our high performing teams. Okay. So, let's shift to one last tool that you provide in your new book, your expectations menu.

Marsha Clark  43:58  
Yeah. So, this menu is a tool that I created some years ago by collecting many expectations documents from my coaching clients as well as leadership program participants. And I've updated it from the one that I offered in my first book because it now includes expectations when interactions occur on a virtual platform, which we know there's a lot of that going on. So, the virtual platform interactions are much more frequent since COVID,  quite honestly, and I offer this tool, this menu to help leaders get started. It's not me sitting in my office making up academic examples. It's based on real expectations and documents that leaders have developed. And so I offer the tool to our listeners and our readers. And feel free to add things, change things, delete things that really don't reflect your own expectations. Just because it's the themes I've picked up from others doesn't mean it's useful or relevant or perfect for you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  45:08  
Okay, so before we dive into the specific menu, I just want to offer that this is a great tool and I can see how it adds value, not just for leaders, but for anyone who's trying to influence decisions on a team or in an organization.

Marsha Clark  45:25  
Yeah, there are definitely some very relevant recommendations that team members have. And I'll tell our, share with our listeners, I was on a coaching call earlier this month and my client said to me, you know, when you gave us this, I was a little wary and skeptical. I thought, oh, man, people are gonna see this as just one more thing, right, where they're trying to get me or catch me. And she said, my team loved it because it gave clarity. And, you know, that enables me to know what to do when I come to work, how to do it, and what success looks like.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  46:01  
Right. Right. So, I'm going to lay out what the expectation menu covers. It's six different categories and here they are: general communications, one-on-one meetings, email and texts, meetings in person or on Zoom, project management, decision making in escalations and in general. So, Marsha, will you share a few highlights from a couple of these categories for our listeners to give them a sense of what's going on in the menu?

Marsha Clark  46:32  
Yes, and I just want to say general communication can cover everything, right, our tone, our look, our timing, all of that, and you know, the one-on-one meetings, or whether it's the calibration or cadence meetings that people might have. So, the core message around general communications is about being open, honest, sharing concerns sooner rather than later, and making sure that each and every one of our energy and focus of each of us on the team is focused on creating value for our stakeholders, our customers, our family, our neighborhood, our school, whatever it might be.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  47:12  
Okay, one of the points that really stood out to me in that category is where you would be clear with the team members that you don't just want them to tell you what's wrong or broken, you also expect them to not only identify the business problem they're trying to solve, but also ideally, bring options and their pros and cons, along with a potential recommendation for the best solution.

Marsha Clark  47:41  
That's right. And I know, we talked about the business problem we're trying to solve, it could be a family problem, you know, a child is not meeting curfew, PTA meetings they're having rowdy members, you know, it's all of that that can go into this. And, I just want to say on the ideally bringing options, pros and cons and so on, it serves two purposes. It does ensure that I'm being informed of issues and it also fosters independent critical thinking, and problem solving. And so along that same line, another general communication expectation that I usually share very early on in this book is that if there are obstacles, tell me what they are, what you've done to overcome the obstacle, and what you need from me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  48:32  
That's powerful. Okay. So to your point about decision making, that's another category in your expectations menu, decision making and escalations. So, what are a couple of key points that you can share on that?

Marsha Clark  48:46  
Yes, it's important that your team members are clear about what their authority levels are on decision making. Maybe their authority level is on timeline, spending limits, where they can offer up compromises if there's two different points of view. And then what is within the big, you know, heading is the things that are within their autonomous or independent range and scope of responsibility, decision making, and so on. And what needs to come back to me for review, which is where the escalation comes in. So, if something requires higher level decision making, bring me that case for the request along with the cost associated with that request. And if it's applicable, include options, option A, we could do this, here's the pros and cons. You know, here's the upside benefit. Here's the downside risk, here's the cost. And you know, then if you bring me two or three options, I want you, expect you to make a recommendation on which option you would choose and why.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  49:12  
Right, and you also offer some clarity around how to engage you as their leader whenever there is a need to escalate.

Marsha Clark  49:59  
That's right. I want to make sure that anyone who works on my team has a solid sense of when and why to pull me in on any decisions outside of other their experience or some predetermined approval range. So, for example, if a decision requires someone higher than me to approve it, engage me early with the appropriate case, business case, if you will, and if applicable, include those options and make a recommendation on which option they choose. Or, if a stakeholder has concerns or questions, also engage me as appropriate. If it's something we've handled before, I can encourage my team members to use their judgment on it. If it's a new issue, or a highly visible client, I want you to come talk to me. We're on visible grounds here, if you will, and consider the risks that are involved. And a simple way of thinking about this is the higher the risk, the more I was involved, and to also keep me informed on any and all client concerns.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  51:05  
Yeah, I think these are great examples of creating clarity that many leaders just don't think about ahead of time until they run into a problem after the fact.

Marsha Clark  51:15  
Well, quite honestly, that's exactly how this menu was developed. The lessons learned the hard way, trial and error over time.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  51:23  
Well, let's do a quick lightning round on the other categories. So our listeners can at least get one tip for each one. So, first one, one-on-one meetings.

Marsha Clark  51:34  
Okay, simply come prepared, and always have an agenda or a list of topics you want to discuss.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  51:40  
What do you think about standing up?

Marsha Clark  51:42  
You know, those usually make it go faster, quite honestly. And when I sit down, it's conversational. We're just gonna chat a bit.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  51:50  
Everybody gets too comfortable. So, I've heard a quote from Mark Cuban that says he hates meetings and he thinks they're the most unproductive thing that can happen. And yet, when he has to have them, everybody stands. There are no chairs in the room.

Marsha Clark  52:03  
I would not be opposed to that at all. I'm standing right now. Yeah, I have a standup desk.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  52:09  
Exactly. Okay. Next one, meetings in general. There's a good segue, meetings in general.

Marsha Clark  52:14  
So, there's so much here. And there are books written about this. So, I'm gonna give you what I call the Cliff Notes, so to speak. So, this is so simple. State, if you're the person generating the meeting, or if you're the recipient of an invitation to a meeting, know the objective of why the meeting is happening. And again, if you're the facilitator, develop an agenda. If it's not your meeting but you're asked to participate, ask for an agenda so that you know how to participate efficiently and effectively. And if you're, again, in charge of developing that agenda, send it out, if at all possible, at least 24 hours in advance. When people get it right before the meeting they don't have time to talk about it, think about it, you know, ponder, do the research, whatever. The second thing about meetings is be on time and end on time. How many of us know the person who always is 10 minutes late then has to be reviewed and we've lost 20 minutes there, right? I mean, think about it. And then also, recap at the end of the meeting. And you know, I think about this, as here are the decisions we made, here are the assignments we made. Here's, you know, any new information that we all need to go back into our workplace and whatever contributions we're making to this project, team meeting, whatever, so that we know how to upgrade or make current all of that. And just because it isn't your meeting doesn't mean you can't recap.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  52:19  
Everyone will thank you.

Marsha Clark  53:11  
That's right. And, you know, if you're a good meeting facilitator, you're going to have a way of capturing decisions as you go along, action items as you go along, next steps as you go along because it's useful for all subsequent. So, and then if you're using a virtual platform technology to conduct your meetings I really encourage people to have the camera talk turned on. Because I can read your nonverbals. Are you with me? Are you paying attention? Did you get it? And even if I don't quite know how to interpret your face, you know, in that square, I'll ask ya, okay. I don't know what your face is telling me so, tell me what you're thinking about right now, you know, that kind of thing. And by all means, if there are compelling reasons to turn off your camera, let me know that beforehand. I work with clients who when working from home, they may live in a place outside the city that doesn't have good internet connections. So, in order to stay connected they had to turn the camera off because it eats up too much, whatever all that stuff is. And s, that's a compelling reason. Or you have a sick child in the background that you're taking care of and you know, it's a distraction for all of us because we're worried about your baby. Those kinds of things.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  55:04  
Right. Those are fantastic points. And okay, now we're gonna move on to the next one. What about emails and texts? What are a couple of key expectations you have around those?

Marsha Clark  55:16  
Yeah, this is one of the ones that always gets a lot of conversation when I'm teaching this and hand out this menu. For example, on emails, do you expect people to respond in 24 hours, 2 hours, 48 hours? You know, does it differ from person to person, and be clear about that. I want clarity around the ask, even if it's you know, in addition to that 24, 48, 2 or whatever. And, again, if they want those kinds of turnarounds from you, be realistic. If somebody wants an hour turnaround on an email for me, I tell them I can't commit to that because I'm in meetings or I'm recording podcasts or I'm, you know, teaching a class or whatever. And then the clarity around the ask if it's email or text, I put it in the subject line. Because we all have hundreds of emails in our boxes. And I want to be able to glance at the emails in my inbox to see if I have any actionable or time sensitive request to address. So I speak about it in don't bury the lead, like the lead line on the story. You want to share context and details in the body of the email logically, succinctly, what, so what, now what, that kind of thing. And don't be afraid to use bullets, headings and you know, bold, you know, font or color, even to organize the information, so that whoever the reader is can quickly scan it. And I also tell my teams if something's urgent text me because I'll be looking at my text more so than my email. And by being able to see in the subject line, what it's about, I can triage if you will.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  56:58  
So many helpful clarifications there. Another one that I know you've shared with me that's been really helpful to manage my own responses with you is that even though you do send emails after normal business hours, and over the weekend, you don't expect me or your team members to also respond after hours or on the weekend, even though I typically do because I'm an entrepreneur, and, you know, it's just never, there's never there well, that you just never turn off. And that's an important clarification for people is to have that conversation with your boss, or, and or your team members, you know, around those off hours expectations.

Marsha Clark  57:39  
Yeah, and I just want to say even, you know, as I say let your people know ahead of time that I may be working after hours or off hours. If I'm a boss, people are still going to think I need to reply. And so when I've had that situation, just as a quick aside, if I sent something on a Saturday afternoon, because I had a couple hours to knock out emails, and then somebody responds to me, I'll send them back a note that says 'Get off your your laptop, get off your phone', you know, because I'm reinforcing my intended message, which is, I can work. Now, I also want to say, that may be the best time for them. So, I can't that's, you know, automatically declare, again, a trust. That's a trust situation. You know, for me, I'm not touching my phone or computer until typically much later in the day or evening. And when I share that with people, they go, 'Oh, well, of course, that makes sense'. But if you have an urgent question or need, type that into the subject line. But I'm going to say that the vast majority of the time, the emails are not that urgent and they can wait until regular business hours. The world will not come to an end if you don't answer that email. So you know, I want them, you know, my team members, to know what my working style is. And then I want to know what theirs is as well.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  58:59  
Yeah, exactly. And many of the email systems now won't even allow you to schedule when your emails are truly sent. So, the technology can also help you manage that expectation.

Marsha Clark  59:10  
Well, that's right, and, you know, allow the technology to work for you in that way rather than being, you know, more overwhelmed.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  59:17  
Okay, one last category, and then we'll get ready to wrap up. You have what you call some general expectations that you share. So, what are a couple of key things there?

Marsha Clark  59:27  
Well, I'll share three pretty quick. So, first is ask for help, women, and be open to new ways of doing things. And I want all my team members to practice that because there's two foundational expectations. These two are that I have of any team I lead and then the third is related to any expectations a leader may have around work hours and location. This is a hot topic in today's  environment of these. They're called hybrid arrangements. And be crystal clear about your expectations around when and where people should be for work on a work day. If they're working from home, do you have specific hours you need them to be accessible and what does that mean? Does that mean available for meetings? Does that mean, you know, I'm going to call you at a certain time, all of that kind of thing. And this is one where it reminds me of the angst that we went through when you look at dress codes of organizations. You know, now a lot of organizations have dress for your day. That's their dress code policy. What does that mean? That means if I am working from home, I can work in my sweats. It means if I'm coming to the office, I need to have some form of professional attire. It means that if I'm meeting with an outside customer, a board member, you know, investor or whatever, you need to dress the part, look the part. So, I look at that, can I also create, you know, locate for your day as the policy for whether you get to work from home or not.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:01:17  
Right. Okay. And I want to touch on one thing, before we move on. Your first point, ask for help. I think women have very much, have a challenge with this. And I just want to offer the way that you ask for help is the key to success here. You don't just go to your boss and say, I have no idea and throw up your hands and you know, I need your help, help me, you know, helpless, helpless, helpless. It's yes, ask for help, but come with two or three ideas around what you think the solution is and then say, 'Can you help me decide or can you help me know what your expectations are, or how do you think which one of these aligns best?' Like there's a way that you can frame asking for help without just going 'help me'!

Marsha Clark  1:02:14  
Yeah, pitiful me, victim me, life's not fair me, all that kind of stuff. I think that's hugely important. I may have conflicting priorities and I need to, because these are two major stakeholder groups and they're both big and visible and important, and I can't get both of them done. So, I'm gonna go to my boss, I'm gonna say help me with this. He may reallocate some resources so I can meet both of them because he or she agrees that it's a big important one. So, but you don't know until you ask. And that's the big key there.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:02:46  
Right, so, and I also want to say that I appreciate that you flip this whole expectations menu around in the book. And so I recommend that listeners, our leading listeners, not only share their list with team members, but then also ask for their input and perspectives on those very same categories. I think this would open up some really interesting dialogue around those mutual expectations that we talked about earlier in this episode.

Marsha Clark  1:03:15  
That's right, that big word mutual. It and it does open up an important conversation. And it this, too, goes back to the aspect of building trust. So, one thing to remember when you're asking for input on expectations from your team, is that just because they ask or expect you to do something, you don't have to agree to it. That's like the email responses in two hours. Make sure that their expectations are within your control to meet because I can't control the world but I can control me my calendar, my time, my energy, my focus. And saying yes to something and we frequently falling short of that leads to mistrust with whoever I made the promise to or commitment to and I would even say cynicism as another downside to that is it de-motivates people to want to meet your expectations. And so, in other words, it's a lose/lose proposition. So, have a healthy discussion, don't be afraid to push beyond your comfort zone and push hard to meet the expectations you've agreed to. So, agree to the ones that you have control over and then make sure you meet them. And that's true for you with your team, your boss and any other stakeholder groups.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:04:36  
That's a great point. You've got to be clear on what you can and can't do so that you're not setting up false promises.

Marsha Clark  1:04:43  
Yes. So, we lose all the positive ground that we built his leaders, when that happens, when we fall short on our commitments and expectations and it is a balancing act. You know, we do want to be clear and share our expectations and we want to be transparent and open to input from our team, our leaders, our colleagues, and so on. And so people may want to add some things to your list. I usually start with, here's what you can expect from me. And this is the starting point, you can expect me to give you clear direction, you can expect me to give you constructive feedback, you can expect me to support your development plan, and so on. But be open, and recognize that certain expectations can be so deeply ingrained that you don't even realize you have them. It's sort of the unconscious, this is gonna sound crazy, unconscious consciousness, right. But it's so automatic, it's a default. And so recognize and communicate, you know, to that this is a dynamic document. So, tell your team, this is what it is for now. And that we're going to periodically review it and even refresh it, as we, you know, go from year to year. And I do recommend doing that once a year at the beginning of the fiscal year, at the beginning of the calendar year, a performance management year, whatever. And I also recommend that you use this expectations document as a part of your onboarding process for new employees. That's where I have found it to be particularly helpful because it helps establish the strong foundation of working together effectively. And I would say in an accelerated way because the flipside of that is trial and error, trial and error, trial and error.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:06:30  
Yes, absolutely. So Marsha, what is one last piece of advice you have for our listeners in terms of compiling their own expectations menu lists to share with others?

Marsha Clark  1:06:42  
Yeah. And again, write it down. That's, as I mentioned, too, make sure that everyone understands that it's the dynamic nature of this expectations list. Because certainly as requirements and organizational, the market, those change, the expectations change, and therefore your list should be updated accordingly. So stay on top of it, and communicate, you know, whatever those changes might be promptly. The adds on virtual platform meetings, those had to be done quickly. You know, and it's also one reason why I strongly urge leaders to try and keep their expectations to one page. And that probably sounds impossible after we've run through these six different categories. But if you look in the book, what we offer there, it is a one page, I can guarantee you because it's hard for people to remember more than a page of expectations as each of us moves through our daily paces. So, you know, if you find that you've got lots more expectations than fit on one page, I challenge you to ask yourself, one, if you're micromanaging, two, if you're exercising high control needs, and three, are you requiring that almost or in fact, everything has to be done your way? And so, be mindful of that as you make up your list or accept the expectations from others. And there may be times, I also want to note, when you may have additional expectations that may be unique to a given situation. And these additional expectations also require clarity and thoughtfulness on your part, too. So spending a bit of extra focus time on your part will pay great dividends as the assignment is completed. So, don't be afraid to add those unique to a person expectations or unique to a situation expectations. And note that they're tied specifically to that project or situation.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:08:47  
Wow, Marsha, so much ground covered today on this first episode of our three part series on building high performing teams.

Marsha Clark  1:08:56  
Thank you, I'm happy to do it. So, we've covered a lot of ground today. And it's you know, I would call it a workout for sure. And I wanted to spend some extra time on this particular topic to lay the groundwork for the other elements because everything starts with trust and then immediately developing, communicating and aligning expectations. And this is a precursor or forerunner to the additional elements we're going to be talking about around removing obstacles, providing feedback and celebrating success.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:09:31  
Well, I think the foundation is well established here. So, thank you for being such a wonderful guide and, dare I say, builder in helping us work through some great suggestions on setting clear expectations. And so as we're wrapping up this initial exploration, what are one or two key points that you want to make sure everyone takes away from us today?

Marsha Clark  1:09:54  
Yeah, I want to add a twist on all of this now that we've shared, you know how many kinds of expectations or what to do with those expectations, the mutuality of those expectations. So, my son and I used to discuss his position which is expectations are a setup. Well, of course, as his mother, I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' And, you know, what he was saying is that expectations can set you up to be frustrated or confused, disappointed or angry. And, you know, my son is one of my great teachers. And I thought a lot about that, as you know, I've clearly seen and experienced that setup place myself. And where I landed is that idealized expectations can be a setup. So, that putting that word 'idealized' is what made a difference for me where I could integrate it with my own thinking and experience. And what I mean by that idealized is that, you know, the idealized part is that everything's gonna go smoothly and we're never going to have any breakdowns. We all know that just doesn't happen. And I'll share this with my listeners. The visual image, in my mind, and many of us have probably seen this is the Norman Rockwell picture at Thanksgiving. It's a beautiful meal. Everyone's smiling and dressed up in their finery. And I don't know about our listeners, but I've never had that. Nor have I heard of anyone else that has because it doesn't account for, you know, and I don't mean to offend anyone, but the uncle that had too much to drink, the cranky baby who missed her nap or, you know, the embarrassed family member or friend who just got divorced and this is their first solo holiday. I mean, those are all the realities sitting around the table. So my message here is let's be real about these expectations. We, each of us, and our teams, we will fall short. And the key here is that we want to learn from those moments and get continuously better. So, that's what I would leave our listeners with.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:12:01  
Great reminder, Marsha. Okay, so, listeners, next week we will continue this conversation as we discuss the leader's role in removing obstacles in our next exploration of building high performance teams. So, looking forward to next week already. All right. So, thank you, listeners, for joining us today on this journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please download, subscribe, and continue to share this podcast from iTunes, Google, Spotify, wherever you like to listen, and please visit Marsha's website today at because you'll see a link to the expectations menu, let me put it correctly, tool on the site. And definitely subscribe to Marsha's email to stay up to date with everything that's going on, including when it comes, the drop date for her second book.

Marsha Clark  1:12:58  
Yes, very, very good. Thank you, always. And you know, we're covering things that are in the second book and people don't have access to those. So, that's one of the reasons we're putting some of these tools out on the website so that people listening to this podcast can go out there and find them. And listeners, thank you very much for joining us today. And as we say, share this podcast with others. I think expectations and the menu in and of itself is one of the most sought after tools. I put it in the top 10 of our hundreds of tools. And so it's got value. And it may be a little unfamiliar to you to think about it in this way. I would also offer to our listeners long before I learned about the Gallup model for building high performance teams, I created an expectations menu. I didn't call it that. But I changed jobs every 18 to 24 months. And what happened is, I found myself, you know, writing down and getting up and sharing with my team whatever those things were that are now those major headings in the expectations menu. And that's why I knew it was a worthy tool, right? Because, you know, I wanted to make sure that I communicated comprehensively, I communicated transparently, I communicated those things that were basic and fundamental to how we were going to work together. And I found great use in it, was excited when I saw another body of research like Gallup noting its importance. And so even if it's unfamiliar, even if it's uncomfortable, try it. And, you know, join us next week because we're going to have more tools for you. So, thank you and we hope to see you soon and let me just say to everyone, as always, "Here's to women supporting women!"

Transcribed by

bottom of page