Several weeks ago I had a meeting with Raz Zehnacker. Raz is the former President of First Data. We met to talk about things I needed to be aware of as CAN grows, because according to Jim Collins “most companies don’t die of starvation but of indigestion”. Some of the best advice he gave me was to “Inspect What You Expect”.
Raz explained that as a leader you need inspect what you expect. During his time at First Data he used audits to make sure that he could stand by his promises, and that he could coach and grow his team. He used audits to encourage a culture of fixing things before they were delivered, instead of making excuses after it was too late.
I have been practicing Raz’s advice to “Inspect What You Expect”. At the beginning and end of each day I ask myself, “What do I expectt my team to accomplish?” I use the answers to inform my communication with them. I start by collecting as much information as possible, such as timelines, budgets and issues. I want to be able to ask the right questions to make sure that my team has thought through the project, that they have all the resources they need to overcome any issues to deliver on time, and learn how I can help them.
Inspecting what you expect can be uncomfortable, especially if someone has something to hide or they feel as if they are going to be judged. If they have something to hide, then it is essential that you inspect what is going on. However, it is also important that you communicate that you are not trying to judge, but that you want to help them. If your team is uncomfortable, it can be very tempting to leave them alone. In the end you as the leader are response. You need to make sure that you inspect what you expect so that you can stand by your promises.