Expectations Management

I’m back from a wonderful six-week trip to Canada and the US visiting family and friends. As always, I like to write a blog about risk management from the experiences I have when on holiday. Some of our activities had a risk element to them, for example, boat camping in northern British Columbia and taking bear spray with us to “go up the hill” to the loo, in case we met a black bear – or worse – a grizzly! As I sit here reflecting, I find myself writing about Expectations Management.

Travel has been in the media, social media and in many a conversation over the last few months. And many, including the airlines, have been doing plenty of expectation management, albeit after poor performance earlier when things got busy again. We even got an email from the CEO of Air Canada in June saying they were cancelling some flights now for July and August because they became certain they would not be able to meet the published schedule. We had been warned.

And so we embarked on nine separate flights with checked baggage. Six of them international involving customs and immigration. The outcome? No lost bags and every flight (bar one) was pretty much on time. The delayed one was only about an hour or so late and most of our line ups for security and customs were way less than an hour. Did we spend a little more time sitting in airports because we got through faster? Yes. Did we care? No, plenty to do these days with streaming, books and people watching in countries we’d been unable to visit for a couple of years. Things change in that time, especially from a pandemic!

As a risk guy, I look at pretty much everything through a risk lens. And so I see expectations management as simply good risk management. Turn that on its head and any businessperson worth a dollar or more knows risk management is simply good management. The management of uncertainty. And the best of the best embrace uncertainty to achieve more, out compete and deliver a legacy.

For more on embracing uncertainty, I would encourage you to read my latest book Risky Business: How Successful Organisations Embrace Uncertainty.