Clear Expectations

3 A’s for Clear Expectations

Have you ever had a team member who underperformed? And in that case, was the cause ever because you failed to set clear expectations?

You’re not alone, this happens all the time, and today I’d like to share a simple formula that I use with my clients to help them change this.

Clear Expectations Lead to Excellent Performance

There’s a casual relationship between expectations and performance. Unclear expectations create confusion and lead to poor performance. Clear expectations boost confidence and leader to excellent performance.

Use the “3 As + So That” to set clear expectations.

Why does this matter?

Clear expectations help you hire better, improve accountability, and reduce distress.

3 A’s + So That = Winning Formula

Last week, I worked with a client who wanted to improve accountability and performance. They had a massive turnover among new hires who weren’t representing the company well. The revolving door was pouring money down the drain, and the leaders were bogged down with corrective action and the associated emotional tax.

Their most crucial expectation was for people to show up on time, in uniform, and ready to work.


The first step is to paint the picture of what acceptable looks like.

Show up on time, in the right uniform, with the right equipment, and ready to work so that you respect your co-workers, get the job done right the first time, and represent the company well to our customers.

Define what is acceptable by using “so that” so that everyone knows what right looks like and why it matters.


The second step is to paint what awesome looks like when people go beyond what is expected.

You are 10 minutes early, so no one has to wait or worry; you’ve inspected the vehicle and equipment and know everything’s ready to go; you’ve got a positive attitude that makes working with you a joy.


The third step is to paint what awful looks like.

You’re late, out of uniform, missing kit, smell bad, or have a lousy attitude.

Put this to work now. Look at where your expectations are not being met, and create your own expectations using the “3As + So What” formula. Involve your employees so that you get buy in right away.

Imagine how much easier life would be if people self-correct and your employees hold each other accountable instead of it all falling on your lap.

Learn more

Would you like to learn more about how to set clear expectations and improve psychological safety?

My next live session is on March 9th at noon U.S. Central time. During this session, I will show you how General Dwight Eisenhower created psychological safety, its impact on winning WWII, and three actions you can apply immediately to improve performance in your organization.

These sessions are only available for people in my Circle community which you are welcome to join. Click here to join our community, go to “Live with Chris,” and accept the invite for this session.

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