Thursday, February 6, 2014

Setting Expectations & Delivering Bad News

Three experiences as we built a house over the last year provide valuable lessons for association executives and their work with association boards and members.

Here are our three experiences:

The House

The sales folks over promised ... they told us the house should be ready between August 15 and September 15 ... but it wasn’t finished until late October. After being “homeless” for more than 10 months, the wait was not pretty!

The problem: No communication in terms of scheduling and giving us updates. Even though the contact stipulated we would be given a 30-day notice for the closing date; we got 10.

The Pool

They told us it would take 6 to 8 weeks to complete the pool.

Like the house, there were days when no workers were here and we received no communications about what was happening.

The pool company discovered that they could not get the deck tile we had selected but, waited three weeks to tell us. And, then, told us the tile was on a 3-week backorder.

The problem: Failing to deliver the “bad news” early made the issue worse and made us upset.

The Water Purification System

The company called and asked if they could install six days sooner than scheduled. Yea!

The company originally told us it would take four hours to complete ... but the technician finished in 2 ½ hours. Another Yea!

By lowering expectations and over performing, we had a very positive reaction to the company and the installer.

Here are the lessons that apply to your work with members and boards:

  1. Provide realistic schedule information.
  2. Provide frequent and regular communications and updates.
  3. Immediately alert members of any schedule changes.
  4. Under promise and over perform!

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