I needed a business development officer and he needed work. I had enough money to hire him, and he agreed to the salary. I wanted him to introduce me to key strategic partners and he was a serial networking machine. It was an arrangement made in heaven. Though we didn’t know diddly about each other, we seemed to click. We both had visions of great things, a “win-win,” we said. With little more than a handshake, we launched.
I was stoked, upbeat and optimistic. He was ecstatic, hopeful, and confident. In less than six months, we parted ways, disappointed, frustrated, and I was the poorer for it. What went wrong?
I had a very clear picture in my mind as to what business development officers do. I envisioned going from one appointment to another, meeting only with highly compensated, suitable clients. He assumed his role was to invite random strangers to coffee or lunch on chance they had two nickels to rub together.
I imagined having at least twenty appointments a week. He believed a great week was seeing between five and ten people. It was like we had agreed on taking a dream vacation together, but failed to mention, I love the ocean and he loves the desert!
The relationship ended unceremoniously, with a mutual understanding that it just wasn’t working. Our dream for reaching higher heights died on the shores of unmet expectations. In the final analysis, it was a “lose-lose.”
Here’s what I learned from this experience:
- I hired based on personality, gut feeling and a desire to make something happen.
- I focused on results, on getting more business, but neglected developing method or narrative that would get us there.
- I didn’t put a thing in writing. Why bother? We clicked! (Until we didn’t.)
- I failed to articulate my desired metrics and secure his agreement so that we could measure progress.
- I didn’t offer clearly defined understandable roles, responsibilities, goals, and objectives.
- I neglected to schedule a 30-day, 90-day, and six-month review.
- I didn’t provide leadership. I made demands (i.e., more appointments, more business).
- I didn’t coach to performance. I focused only on results.
- I thought he was a bad hire. But I had done a poor job of selection and vetting.
- Unarticulated expectations can’t possibly be met.
If you are in a “dream relationship” with unarticulated expectations, the dream is on track to be a nightmare. Negotiate each expectation until you achieve agreement. Systematically, inspect performance and coach to improved performance. Dreams can come true.
Randall E. Davey, CAP® is a financial advisor with Guide Advisors, Inc. In certain circumstances, he may offer insurance as a sole proprietor or through Guide Advisors, Inc. Randall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 206-486-2477.
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