As a coalition, it can be easy to be overcommitted (which we talked about as our Partnership Pitfall #2). A related pitfall happens when we communicate to our partners and stakeholders that we can do more than we can actually do. In our enthusiasm (and sometimes our people-pleasing tendencies), we can communicate unrealistic expectations and “oversell” what is possible which then can easily result in “under delivering” on those expectations. When you are communicating that a toolkit or a resource will be available in one week but it takes four weeks, that is overselling and under delivering. When you agree to develop specific deliverables but you do not have the right staff or capacity to do it, that is overselling and under delivering. While this is something we may all struggle with at one point or another, if this is something we do frequently, it can impact our partners’ trust and level of engagement. Join me this week as I highlight four ideas on how you can begin to overcome Partnership Pitfall #7, Overselling and Under delivering.
- Wait to commit to anything new. For some of us, this can be particularly challenging. You may be in a meeting with partners, see a need that your team or staff could meet and before pausing, you say “yes” we can do this. Practice waiting. If needed, keep yourself on “mute.” 🙂
- Review existing commitments, priorities and resources. What have you already said “yes” to this month, quarter or year? What resources have you and your team are already committed to deliver on what you previously said you would do?
- Estimate time and resources needed to accomplish both your existing work as well as new projects. When we spend time writing out specific information about what is needed to deliver based on expectations provided to our coalition, we realize what it will really take. If you tend to be someone who underestimates time, effort and resources, ask other staff and/or some of your key members to review the estimates and provide feedback. If you have been consistently overselling and under delivering, be honest with your coalition that you underestimated the time and resources needed. Provide a new estimate and ask for assistance to work on your priority areas.
- Consider other coalition members or partners who would be a good fit to develop, implement and/or evaluate the idea, product, tool or resource. When we take time to review and estimate, we may realize that we have “oversold” ourselves in several areas. Rather than continue to work longer hours and overwhelm our teams, we can take time to reflect on other coalition members or partners whose organizational work may align well with leading one or more of the efforts. Or, there may be some coalition members or partners who have expertise in areas that you need and you can collaborate on this work rather than try to take it all on as a staff.
Ultimately, we need to create space in our weeks so that we can pause, reflect and evaluate before we “oversell” and “under deliver” again!
So what about you? What are you going to do this week to move toward more realistic expectations on what you can deliver to your coalition? How will you communicate that?
If you missed my Facebook Live on this post, check it out here!