Many leaders make promises, commit to deadlines, or take on challenges that are at the limit of their capabilities.  For some, it’s a requirement of the job.  Can you relate?  How do you manage the pressure of promises?  Am I stating the obvious that upfront is the best time to manage expectations?  Apparently not, based on my experience and the dilemmas I see many get into.  With big commitments, you have just a few choices:

  • Don’t make them.
  • Make them, and hope for the best.
  • Make them, and work like crazy to deliver.
  • Manage promises upfront, to ensure high likelihood of delivery.

The effort required to consider, negotiate, and manage the expectations of others in the beginning is far less than what will be required to deal with unclear assumptions, unreasonable requests, or uncomfortable excuses when expectations are unmet.  Under promise and then work as smart as you can (and as hard as you must) to consistently over deliver.