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The Covid-19 crisis will transform expectations among our suppliers, customers and employees. Managing the transition, stress-free, is about mastering the art of saying ‘no’ says Desiree Perez, Leadership Coach & Aviation Consultant

“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is very likely that our businesses have significantly changed. Maybe this means an adjustment of services, workforce, processes and other areas of your business.

One thing that most certainly will happen to all of us, is a change in priorities. It will change what causes stress and pressure for us as leaders in our businesses. Expectations of internal and external stakeholders will have changed. It is important that we proactively manage those expectations in order to allow ourselves and our businesses to emerge from this pandemic in a healthy way.

Saying ‘no’ often seems like a simple thing to do. However, it is one of the biggest challenges that comes up frequently in my work with executives. Most of us do not want to disappoint, which I think we all can relate to.

Here are a few tips on how to manage these expectations effectively without necessarily having to say ‘no’:
  • Strategic plan: Although there are still many unknowns on what our new day-to-day business will look like, it is important to have an evolving strategic plan to have a big picture in mind. This will give you the ability to quickly decide if the request from any of your stakeholders is something you can fulfill or not. Sharing this with the rest of the team ensures unity in what is being delivered.
  • Alignment: Creating alignment within your team on what can be done and what can’t be done is crucial. In one of my previous articles, I talked about unity and how important it is in the current situation. Having alignment within the team and everyone rowing in the same direction is key. Do you have someone that is not aligned and not on board? Seek out a personal one-on-one conversation and understand their concerns. From there, you can create mutual consensus on how to move forward.
  • Keeping mutual benefit in mind: One of my favourite questions to ask in every interaction is: What is the opportunity? What creates a win-win for everyone involved? Although we might not necessarily be able to deliver what we are being asked to deliver, keeping the win-win mentality will allow you to come with solutions that everyone can benefit from.
  • Honesty: Honesty is key when setting the right expectations. Often, we like to say that we are able to fulfill that one request although we might already know that it will be challenging to do so. Being honest about this and becoming creative together with the other party not only builds trust, but will avoid frustration and enhance long-term relationships.
  • Offer solutions: While you might not be able to fulfill every request that you receive from a client, employee, or your manager given the current situation, it is important that we not only set the right expectation but have the ability to offer alternate solutions. Instead of having to say ‘no’, a good way to respond is: “Yes, however…” with an alternate solution that you know you can promise and also deliver.
I hope that these few tips help you in managing expectations in a healthy way by allowing yourself to not add any additional stress besides the what the current situation is already creating.”

As always, I am happy to support in any way I can. Please do not hesitate to reach out at