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Stop Under Promising and Start Delivering Better Content Products

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Stop Under Promising and Start Delivering Better Content Products

We’re exhausted.

Whether it’s one of the many side effects of the pandemic or any of the myriad choose-your-own-doomsday scenarios from the last 12 months, we can all agree on one thing: We’re tired.

Didn’t somebody say 2022 would be better?

The last two years have created a kind of fatigue that’s hard to pin down. Ask people how they’re doing, and they say, “Fine.” But it doesn’t take too many follow-up questions to get to the truth at the center: “Actually, no.”

Leading teams, guiding clients, and even working with colleagues feel challenging now. Add in the complications of acquiring new talent, and you can see why managing to higher standards feels so difficult.

Your first impulse is to manage expectations down – to let people off the hook. I think you should do the opposite.

As fatigue sets in, your first impulse is to manage expectations down. Don’t do that, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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You get what you expect

Last week, a client talked about his struggles with a writer on his team. “He continually produces work that just isn’t good enough,” the client said. “I’m not sure what to do.”

I asked if they had considered raising expectations for writing quality. My client seemed incredulous. “No,” they said. “I’m just trying to get him to first base. If I can get a basic piece out of him, I’ll count it as a win. I’ve been trying to manage his expectations about where he fits in.”

I’ve been in consulting for more than 35 years. And every firm I’ve worked with tells me they focus on managing others’ expectations about delivering great work.

But let’s be clear. In those 35 years, that phrase has never meant raising expectations about what they’ll deliver. To “manage expectations” means lowering expectations.

If you know you’ll surpass expectations (the thinking goes), keep that to yourself so you can surprise and delight people later.

If you search Google for best practices around managing expectations, you’ll find some variation of this simple advice: “Communicate your intentions clearly.”

That’s all well and good. But before you manage expectations for your team, your boss, a client, or a customer, ask yourself this question: Am I communicating my expectations, or am I trying to lower theirs?

Think about that feeling when you’re excited about some innovative thing you want to do or about the potential for your team to accomplish something (especially these days). Your expectations are likely off-the-charts high.

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But what do you do? You dampen that excitement when you take that idea to management. You manage people’s expectations, so you’ll be sure to meet them. Have you ever said (even to yourself), “Let’s under promise and overdeliver?”

Exceeding expectations is a flawed way to deliver a service. It’s likely to prompt the equivalent of the response Nigel Tufnel gets in the mockumentary Spinal Tap when he shows that his amplifier goes to 11: “Why don’t you just make 10 louder?”

Exceeding expectations is a flawed way to deliver a service, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

If you feel you need to “exceed expectations,” then at least one of those expectations (either yours or theirs) isn’t high enough.

Aim for the home run

There’s a psychological phenomenon at work here called the Pygmalion effect. Research shows that high expectations for people can propel them to better results.

Despite the challenges you face (and maybe because of them), you must adjust your expectations about the performance levels you and your team can meet.

With your teams, you can:

  • Reprioritize projects and deadlines (delegate or extend due dates as needed)
  • Assess the quality of your work, especially the level of detail needed for these projects.
  • Balance the work across the team to account for personal stress levels.

But the one thing you shouldn’t do? Lower your expectations.

I advised the client struggling with an underperforming writer to instill the highest expectations. I said, “Instead of telling this writer you’re trying to get him to first base, why not tell him you expect a home run?”

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Align the expectations with reality, so you both aim for 10. You don’t have to hit 11. But you need to achieve the highest level you both can.

Next time you find yourself managing expectations, check whether you’re communicating your expectations or lowering theirs.

If you raise expectations to match your own, I expect you’ll get more of what you want.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries
 
Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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7 Critical Factors You Must Consider When Choosing RPA Tools

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7 Critical Factors You Must Consider When Choosing RPA Tools

Robotic Process Automation is a technology that makes it easy for businesses to build, deploy and manage bots that can replicate humans interacting with digital systems and software. These bots can perform structured and pre-defined tasks such as filling out a form, processing a financial transaction or sending messages.

The core purpose of robotic process automation is to automate mundane and repetitive tasks so that your employees don’t waste their time on those tasks and focus on more value-driven activities with automatic employee monitoring software. Yes, a human first has to define the workflow for a bot for it to work but once done, it can perform most tasks automatically.

Advantages of Robotic Process Automation

Here are some of the advantages of robotic process automation:

  • Optimal resource utilization
  • Save time
  • Reduces cost
  • Minimize errors
  • Increases business capacity

Disadvantages of Robotic Process Automation

Some of the disadvantages of robotic process automation are:

  • Requires monitoring and maintenance
  • Not capable to extract information from unstructured datasets
  • Can not automate complex tasks
  •  The time-consuming and costly setup process

In this article, you will learn about seven critical factors you must take into account when choosing robotic process automation tools for your business.

Before discussing factors you should consider when buying robotic process automation tools, it is important to understand that every robotic process automation tool has its own format and does not offer any kind of portability. This means that there are no standards so the one size fits all formula does not apply here.

Make sure that the robotic process automation software you are planning to buy has all the features you need along with some handy extras. Ask for proof of concept before rollout and only buy the software when you are sure that it is the right choice to meet your business needs.

7 Factors To Consider When Buying RPA Tools

Here are seven factors you must consider when buying a robotic process automation software

1.  Ease of bot setup

Setting up a robotic process automation software can be a daunting challenge for businesses as it can take a lot of time and resources. That is why it is imperative that enterprises invest in robotic process automation tools that are easy to set up and use.

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It must also allow a level of customization and let businesses create custom bots for different buyer personas. Developers should be able to call the robotic process automation tool API when writing code for automation.

2.  Low-code capabilities

Gone are the days when only experienced developers could create websites and apps. With the advent of low code tools, anyone can now create an app even with little to no coding knowledge(accounting app, management app, etc.). Low code development lets you drag and drop ready-made components from the tool library and write small code snippets for functions that are not present in the tool library of the tool. Choose robotic process automation tools that offer these low code capabilities.

3.  Machine learning capabilities

As mentioned before, robotic process automation software struggles when it comes to extracting actionable insights from unstructured datasets. Since a major chunk of company data is in unstructured form, it makes robotic process automation tools useless.

That is where the machine learning capabilities of these robotic process automation tools come in handy. With these capabilities, it can parse through documents, find information and return it to users. This can enhance the user experience and boost customer loyalty. Some vendors might give this a fancy name but the functionality remains the same.

4.  Integration with enterprise applications

Another important factor you can not afford to ignore when buying robotic process automation software is compatibility with enterprise applications. At the end of the day, your robotic process automation software’s utility is highly dependent on how these tools can integrate with your existing business application. This is about your data integration with supermetric alternatives and so on.

Its capability to extract data from your existing business applications matters most. Does your robotic process automation tool offer plugins to seamlessly connect it with your database, accounting systems, HR systems, appointment setting services and ERP systems? If yes, then you should certainly consider it as an option if it fulfills all your requirements.

5.  Orchestration and administration

Before these bots can take care of mundane tasks, you will have to first configure them and feed them with the right information as well as a secure credential. This secure credential is usually stored in a credential store. If you want other users to use your bots, you will first have to authorize and authenticate them.

You should also allocate resources for certain bots which trigger when a special event occurs. Once you have set it up, now you have to monitor it so it can work without human involvement. You will have to constantly improve its machine learning capabilities so it does not need human support when performing tasks.

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6.  Process and task discovery and mining

Identifying business processes you want to automate and prioritizing them is critical for the success of your robotic process automation implementation. Unfortunately, it is also the most time-consuming part of the process as well.

The more your robotic process automation software lets you mine for processes from system log and construct task flows by observations, the easier it will be for you to implement it and automate your business processes. Look for robotic process automation tools that make task discovery and mining painless.

7.  Scalability

If you are planning to implement robotic process automation throughout the organization, you will bump into scalability issues. The best way to resolve these scalability issues is to implement them in the cloud, in containers or via virtual machines. If the orchestration component can allocate extra bots when needed, solving the scalability problem is not a problem.

At the end of the day, the success and failure of your robotic process automation rest on identifying the best tasks and processes to be automated. Make sure to document every step involved in the process. Never cut corners in testing cycles because it can lead to some missing links in your robotic process automation systems.

What factors do you consider when selecting a robotic process automation software? Share it with us in the comments section below.

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