The last two posts were covering values and mission. When shared values and organisation’s mission are clear then it is time to set expectations for the members of the organisation.

Every leader have their expecations regarding people they lead. Same way all the followers have their expectations about the leaders. It is good to have common understanding what people expects instead of assuming. The good way to set the expectation is to have personal regular one-to-one feedback or coaching sessions. Those sessions are good for getting know each other better and for building trusted relationships. From my experience, it is good to have meeting minutes or memo from the meeting which is shared after the meeting. The memo is also good for reviewing the last sessions action points.

Reviewing how people live with expectations

In the one-to-one discussion it is good to review how people have lived by their expectations. This is also good way to review how leader has lived by expectations. When both parties find out that they have fulfilled expectations then it builds trust and deepen the relationship. Another way round, if neither of parties haven’t lived by expectations it will build distrust between leaders and followers.

Expectations can be easily managed by creating goals for the team members which benefit both employee and organisation. Once in a three month it is good set both goals and expectation and after the three months both are reviewed. When goals are set so that there is expectation component, it will give more clear message for the employee. When both, goals and expectations are met it is easy for example reward the member and the organisation

How did I do it?

I have arranged once in a quarter one-to-one feedback session with my team. In the session we discuss about what has happen during the last three months. We review together how goals were met and then discuss together how next period would look like. This is the moment where expectations are reviewed. If I have expected to have e.g. weekly report how release testing is progressing then we review together is this expectation met. This is good example since if the testing manager needs coaching, the first thing is to manage expectations regarding habits of test manager. Since the habits are in place then we can add more challenge for the next period e.g. how testing efforts are managed to get more test coverage etc. This can be easily applied to different context where people are coached.

What do you think about expectations and managing them?

Mission and Leadership

In the previous post I wrote about values and their importance for the organisation. Another, essential element for the organisation is its mission. Every organisation has its mission and some organisations have defined, communicated and understood it clearly. When mission is clear for every member of the organisation, it helps leaders’ work. The mission is the organisation’s basic function which delivers the value to its stakeholders or customers.

What to do if organisation’s mission is not clear?

If the mission is not clear to the organisation people start to questioning every task they do. “Why are we doing this? This is just purposeless job to do? I don’t know? I don’t care. Someone else will do this, not me.” These are symptoms of missionless organisation. People don’t understand the connection of their task to the organisation’s basic function. In this case, it is leader’s job to clarify the mission and find the answer for the question: “Why this organisation exists?”. It is easy to start and the mission is easy to find. When mission is clear then it should be communicated clearly and kept in mind all the time by all the people.

Leader’s own mission

Like own values, it is good for the leader to understand own mission when executing basic function in different roles. The leader should have own mission for individual (self), father or mother, community member and for the leader. When the basic principles are clear for the leader it helps in leading others. When leader knows his or her mission as a leader it will help in developing others and organisations to grow.

For the leaders own sake it is important to have balance in life and that is why mission as a father or mother is something that can’t be forgotten. For me it is important to know what is my mission as a father and how am I able to cope with demanding work and without exhausting myself and neglecting my family.

Have you ever thought about your own mission as a leader or thought about the mission of the organisation where you work at? Think about what is the basic or principle function in your organisation which brings the most of its value.

The First Sale

The first sale is a crucial milestone for every start-up. It is reward from countless hours spent with the product, building the website and e-commerce solution. The first sale proofs that your assumptions are correct, at least some of them,  and it gives confidence. But what is exactly done before the first sale?

Year ago the first thing was to get people on the e-commerce site. The strategy was to use some money in Google AdWords and in Facebook Ads. I wrote about it some time ago and the results were moderate. In that post I mentioned also that good SEO implementation is VERY important and hanging on the top of the first search result page of Google doesn’t pay anything. This needs only little time and good analysis of keywords which direct traffic on the site. Facebook Ads, Google AdWords and SEO didn’t make the first sale so we need to think something more.

The first users and their experiences. Good friend of my wife was expecting a baby and she was by then quite active in different “baby forums”.  We thought that she would be interested in evaluating and testing the crib, so we gave one crib for free. After she  gave a birth to adorable baby boy, she started to “evaluate and test” our product. We got valuable feedback about the crib and another big thing was that she endorsed it on different baby forums. Giving one product for free for “evaluating and testing” was a good thing since it generated more traffic to our site.

When you’re waiting the first sale you start to think following things: is the product interesting? How to get more visibility? Is the product too complex? Is the value proposition correct? Does the sales channel work? Is the marketing message good enough? Is the buying process easy and so forth. I think this is normal, since you are committed to the product and you trust its success. And then, brave customer makes the leap of faith and orders the product. The first sale is closed and it answers to those bothering questions (at least some of them). The effect of the first sale is amazing: it brings you back to the top and you feel like winner…until you find yourself waiting for the next order.

Did we get the first sale by giving one crib free for a mom who is active at the baby forums? Not sure, but I think that it was one factor in this mysterious equation.