No one told me my first airplane ride would be landing over water. So as my maiden flight approached Logan Airport in the late '80s, I was thrilled to see the runway appear out of seemingly nowhere. I learned a lesson on that trip that has repeated itself throughout my life.
It's always better to share information when expectations may be different than what comes, especially when perceptions of an organization or individual are at issue. Clients want and deserve to know when bad news may be in the works, and are more forgiving and collaborative when looped in early. The followup rule is to always provide a solution - a forward looking plan that adapts to the new realities; and a 'lesson learned' that takes responsibility for and identifies what will be done differently the next time.
Re-Setting Expectations Takes Character
Primo Levi theorized after surviving the Holocaust that each of us have a core that no one can touch if we keep it safe from outside interference. Character. Resiliency. Optimism. Forgiveness. Learning. Self improving. These are all essentials of maintaining and strengthening our ability to serve our clients and partners better.
We all fail, of course. The most successful and creative among us fail the most often. The key distinction being that successful practitioners and innovators continually push the envelope, learn from failure, and remain confident that victories come only to those who keep moving forward. My favorite clients - and yes, they're all my favorites for different reasons - have encouraged me to try new approaches, and come back for more even when they did not all lead to the expected outcome.
By the way, I love flying in over water or mountains. The view's spectacular.