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‘UNDER PROMISE, OVER DELIVER’Defining Business Analysis - Part 5Defining Business Analysis - Part 4Defining Business Analysis - Part 3Defining Business Analysis - Part 2Defining Business Analysis - Part 1

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02-08-2020 12:08 PM

Bruno Cresca

Communication, Stakeholder Management, Communication, under promise over deliver, expectations, great results, life lesson, professional growth,


When you work in a very fast-paced environment like mine, it’s often hard to meticulously satisfy your stakeholders’ expectations








Under-promising and over-delivering is one of the greatest lessons that my mentor Atul Sofat has taught me. A lesson from a man with outstanding leadership skills and an extraordinary heart. When you work in a very fast-paced environment like mine, it’s often hard to meticulously satisfy your stakeholders’ expectations and it’s even harder to understand who they are and what their hidden objectives look like.


If you, like me, are involved in a vast number of projects at the same time and have to deal with a large and diversified bunch of amazing people, it becomes clear that managing expectations it is not as easy as it could seem. Managing expectations is a true key-skill.


I truly believe that if we do not pay attention to the little things that happen around us, we might lose control in a snap of a finger without even realising it. This could eventually lead to frustration and overwhelm.


So, let’s start with a few questions to warm up with this concept: How do you identify everyone’s needs and wants? What do you do to balance them out? What is your communication strategy to keep your stakeholders in the loop? How do you evaluate and prioritise? How is your decision-making process calibrated? What tools can you use to enhance efficiency? Do you set deliverables in advance? Are they agreed with your stakeholders? How do you highlight in-scope and out-of-scope requirements whilst gathering information? How do you deliver trust amongst your team?


I could continue with this type of question on and on but this is not what this article is meant to be. It aims to clarify what we should be doing to ensuring clear communication when managing expectations with your stakeholders for a robust and healthy relationship.


While researching, I found an interesting article written by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) that summarises perfectly what I have learned during my work experience. The question that 12 young entrepreneurs have been asked is:


“How can businesses effectively manage client expectations early in a relationship?”


1.       Set Clear Deliverables

“Send your client a highly detailed list of deliverables that contain realistic deadlines for each line item. Review these deliverables with your client one by one and answer any questions they may have prior to moving forward with the project. This will ensure that both you and your client are on the same page and share the same expectations.”

~ Duran Inci, Optimum7


2.       Be Authentic

“There’s too much fluff in most business proposals. People love to overpromise, so be authentic, talk to the client about what you are willing to do for them, what you hope to achieve from the relationship and be transparent about the challenges and obstacles involved. An honest assessment of the potential (and challenges) of the relationship is more effective and sets realistic expectations.”

~ Shawn Schulze,


3.       Establish Regular Communication

Start with good ways to communicate and reach out to each other regularly to stay on top of expectations and perspectives about how the relationship is going. That means asking clients how they want to communicate and how often. Using the channel they like is a great way to start it.”

~ Angela Ruth, Calendar


4.       Personally Get to Know Them

“Personally getting to know the client and showing you’re a real human can really help you develop a strong business relationship. Understanding their values, goals, struggles and interests as a person can help you figure out how to work with them, what expectations to set and easily knock down any boundaries early on. This will transfer over to your business relationship and lead to success.”

~ Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS


5.       Always Sign a Contract

“Drafting contract prints in detail what the expectations are of the client and the business supplying the service. Having such details in writing eliminates any miscommunication and makes it easier for both parties to understand the terms of the agreement.”

~ Kate Hancock, OC Facial Care Center


6.       Set Realistic Expectations

“Expectations must be outlined accurately in the beginning, and then both parties need to deliver on them. The best way to manage or exceed expectations is to make sure they are grounded in reality. These discussions need to be had early on. If a client expects something impossible, you are setting them up for disappointment.”

~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker


7.       Be Transparent

“Over time, you’ll develop a list of reasons why your client relationships go wrong. Now, we make it a habit of sharing some of those stories transparently to illustrate how and why we might fail. That way, prospects understand that they have a role in achieving our common goals, and that shared understanding helps lay the groundwork for an honest, transparent relationship going forward.”

~ Peter Kozodoy, GEM Advertising


8.       Be Honest

“It’s really important to be clear with clients about what they are going to receive. This is something that can be done when you review the signing contract. A clear itemized list reviewed over the phone will provide a great deal of clarity. The most important thing is, to be honest from the beginning.”

~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now


9.       Ask the Client About Specific Goals

“Expectation setting is critical. It starts with asking the client what they’re hoping to achieve and really driving at specifics. Ask them what success looks like and exhaust that line of discussion. Expectation setting can also be enhanced by in-person visits where you can develop a closer connection and have a more meaningful dialogue with the client.”

~ Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot


10.   Think Like the Customer

“Although the client will tell you what they expect, they may not share everything because they are uncomfortable explaining it or they forget. That’s why you need to think like the client and realize what it feels like to be them. That can help you better manage expectations because you see more of what they want and why.”

~ Cynthia Johnson, Bell + Ivy


11.   Don’t Be Afraid to Walk

“Be upfront and super clear about the deliverables and make sure the client or partner understands this prior to the engagement. Clients can become unruly and lose sight of the original deal. Some businesses are happy they got a deal done and they’ll let the client bully them. Don’t be afraid to check them. They chose you for a reason and if that reason is forgotten, don’t be afraid to walk away.”

~ Philip Michael, New York Equity Group (NYEG)


12.   Have a Client Kick-Off Meeting

“Start your business relationship by organizing a client kick-off meeting. This way, both the client and the team can set clear expectations on what the deliverables are and when to expect them.”

~ Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC

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