The Carousel Culture Podcast

We work hard to create an amazing company culture. Listen as we explore the subtle details of what makes Carousel an amazing place to work!

EP011 - Expectations with Eric Henry

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JJ Parker: All right, Eric, I got a question for you. What do you think my expectation of you is?

Eric Henry: is?

a great question. Most days I have no idea.

JJ Parker: Well, that's probably not super good on my, on my side.

Eric Henry: that's probably actually not really true. Um, It's really been interesting as we've kind of journey together. Um, what I found, what I've really found historically is that, that I put these expectations on myself that actually never came from you.

Like that's really, probably mostly for me, that's really been, been an understanding that that I've come to, which is typically, I think that's probably for most of them. If we, if the expectations aren't clear, um, we, we assume that we're not meeting them. So I think that's, uh, that's, uh, a pretty common, I think human behavior thing.

And so for me, what I find in, and I, and I think this is probably true for a lot of our people, because we have such a high-performing culture, right? We have so many driven people that we're all sort of driven, and we all sort of assume that we're not meeting expectations. Yeah.

It's like this nebulous undefined thing.

Like I don't actually even really think about most of the time. I don't actually even think about what your expectations of me are. I just assume that I'm not meeting them. That's

JJ Parker: That's a super healthy mindset. Great.

Eric Henry: Yeah, And so now, and I'm, and I'm speaking to, you know, a few years ago, because I think it was, there was sort of a revelation in myself when, um, it really, you know, if you stepped back a couple of years, it was when we brought Chris. Uh, in his VP of sales role. And I find that we talk about this with our team a lot, which is when you move from things that are very tactical, where I can check things off a list, you can feel like, okay, I'm accomplishing something right there. There's at least something, whether it's the right thing or the wrong thing, at least like the end of the day I go, okay, I got these seven things off my to-do list.

I must have provided value in some way. And when Chris came on and took over the sales role, I knew, I knew I needed to kind of move and shift roles. And, and that was really kind of highlighting for me this, this idea that I wasn't real clear about what expectations were. Um, and it was mainly because I didn't actually, I like, I didn't take the time to really think about what we as leaders are like setting the course for me to do.

I just I'm just not, I'm just not doing

JJ Parker: not doing

Eric Henry: I'm just not doing enough. Right. Um, and that's, there's a danger in like, not doing enough because then sometimes we just get busy doing stuff that actually doesn't provide value. Um, and so, so for me, I think what's been awesome is the last couple of years as Chris has come on and as the four of us, uh, with John and yourself really like getting more clear, and this is kind of that, to that core value of.

More clear about where we're going as an organization and how each of us are uniquely gifted in particular areas. And so I think as I've said, you know, kind of joking to open it. up, I wasn't really sure what JJ, his expectations of me, where I think the awareness that I was just making a lot of assumptions has led us to be much more clear about what your expectations of me and my role are.

Right. It's been really helpful for, for you and Chris and John to help me see the areas that I provide the most value in. And, and then just kind of set me free to go do that. And that's been really kind of, it's just opened me up a lot. Right. Right.

JJ Parker: Yeah. That's a good story. Like, like you said, uh, given that we are generally a group of high performing individuals will get really. Um, kind of doubt on ourselves about like, not meet our own expectations. Right. And, um, we'll have another podcast about it, but we talk about like, even how failure or projects that don't go, like we expect, um, like what's my expectation of failing.

My expectation is that we fail more. Right. But if you ask anyone else in the company, they're probably like, let's try to avoid failure. Right?

Eric Henry: Yeah.

JJ Parker: And given that one of our core values is clarity. I feel that setting expectations with one another, like as an important part of getting to that clarity, um, value.

Right. But frankly, like a lot of times, um, we're not very practiced at telling other people what we expect.

Eric Henry: exactly.

JJ Parker: Right. Cause like, even though whether it's work or even seriously in my personal relationships, I'm like also not very good at it. Like

Eric Henry: Yeah. Yeah,

JJ Parker: do I expect from, you know, like my wife, Amber, like, do I tell her that stuff?

Probably not. Um, when it's not met, maybe I get a little irritated, but that's kind of on me. Right.

Eric Henry: Yeah.

And, and I think my wife has been a great teacher for me because as I was saying, even for myself, like, I assume that I'm not meeting expectations. That's really been true for my wife. If I'm not clear about my expectations. And a lot of times it's managing expectations. Like my, my wife's expectations as a wife and a mom are so. I find myself more often going no like that. That's an unreasonable expectation of yourself. And, and that's even the role that we as leaders at carousel need to play often is reminding our team that sometimes our expectations of ourselves are too high and, and, or, or too quick, like the timing's not right.

It's not, it's not that we're not All striving to be excellent and really good at what we do, but sometimes. Like our pace is off. Right. Or we just we're, we don't, we don't put in context even like, let's talk about the last couple of years of COVID. It's so easy for us to forget how difficult the time is.

Right. And so just helping one another, like as leaders, I think it's important for us to, to be clear to our teams about what we expect, um, and managing expectations and timelines and things, but also as peers, I think it's super important because one of the things that Chris in particular has done for me is give me a perspective because he's newer, right?

He's going, Hey. Eric like this, this is what's really, when you do this, this is really helpful to the company. Oh, okay. That just helps. Give me more clarity around where I should be spending time and then reinforced by you and John. Um, I think is super valuable. Like it's really helped me in the last couple of years, even like manage my own expectations because I think it looks like this, but really with the perspectives of, of the people in the room, I can see more clearly for myself.

Where I should be spending time and delivering value. That's been, that's been really life-changing so.

JJ Parker: right. Let's get super tactical. Let's uh, let's talk about like very tactically. How do we help express what our expectations are of other people? And then how do we ask other people what their expectations of us are? Right. So let's start with the first one. Like how, how would you go about setting expectations on a project?

With, you know, someone with Chris or w with, with somebody you're working with

Eric Henry: So I think it, it really starts if we back it up, because I think, I think there always needs to be some sort of like anchor point, right. Uh, because all of us have am. I'm looking at, I have a to-do list on my screen here. That's 37 things long, uh, expectations, I think start with

priorities. Right. So the more clear we can be about what are our priorities, and that's why in, as we're rolling out to the company a bit more about this whole traction EOS thing that we do, it's super helpful for us to set priorities.

And so I think it starts with us as leadership saying, this is where we're going. And these are the most important things for us as a company. Because if we don't set that, then it's hard for us to. Set expectations because we don't really know, like one group might have this and other group might have that and they're all valid things.

But so again, it starts with the clarity of what do we all need to do together? What is the most important thing? And so then when Chris and I sit down, you know, let's, let's say it's lead gen. Okay. Lead gen is the most important thing for this quarter. Okay. Well, Chris, out of the 12 things that you have going on, let's figure out which three are the most important.

And so I think it starts with. Clarity of, of kind of priorities. It requires me to understand what's actually going on, like Chris, what does your day look like? Where are you spending all of your time? What from you? Are we on the same page in terms of what the priorities are? And I think that's, that's really where it has to start as, are we on the same page in terms of where we're going, what our priorities are and, and then what, what all, what are you facing on a daily basis?

Cause if I don't understand that I can't help Chris set and manage expectations for himself. Right.

JJ Parker: no.

Eric Henry: So

JJ Parker: Yeah, to me it sounds like tactically. It's just like, Hey, in any given project, like what's the most important part of it. Right. And then maybe like, to me, it's like how much time do we have to work on this? Right. Cause sometimes the expectation is like, like for me, I'll ask people to do some stuff and like, my expectation is like, just spend 30 minutes on it, but well then, but, but if I don't say that, what will happen is almost went for hours on it, like way over deliver.

Like, you know, like, all I need is like the. Version of this, not like super detailed, um, and like quality, right? Like, do you need, like, do I need like the broad strokes or do I need the detail? Because if I only need the broad strokes, do it quick, just get me a rough estimate.

Eric Henry: Yup.

JJ Parker: But without that clear, like that, that part of it, of the expectations that like you can go kind of sideways.

Eric Henry: Yeah.

One of the things that I, that I have observed is I think you and I both, from a culture perspective, we don't really think hierarchically, right? Like you don't, I don't, I don't hear you going around going I'm JJ, the CEO, and what I say goes like, that's not your personal. And for me as well, like I don't, I'm not even a big, like introduce myself as the president.

That's not really, I like to just be Eric on a phone call, right. Or a zoom call or those types of things. But we also have to recognize that not everybody in our company thinks the same way. Right? Like some people in our company put weight behind. The fact that you are the CEO and the owner and that I'm the president.

And so if Eric's asking or JJ is asking, that Must mean. that it is the number one thing that I should do in my day. And that's often because I don't think that way. Um, I find that I've had to be much more intentional, especially in the last few years of going. I'm I'm painting a picture. This is not the gospel.

This is, this is us having a conversation. And I need feedback from you in terms of where does this fit within everything else you have going on. And so I think that's, that's an important thing. And like you were saying, like, I can think of let's pick on Amber for a little bit. Amber is so incredible at everything that she does and everything that Amber does is so top-notch that if you are, I asked her.

Develop something she's going to take it to the nines, unless we say, Nope, this is actually, this is a 30 minute or a one hour deliverable for this

JJ Parker: time boxed in some way, right?

Eric Henry: And, and I would say as a special call-out Amber, I think. She has done an incredible job the last several years of, of, okay. Tell me the relative priority of this thing.

Like she, she is well, can help us, right? Like I think part of what we're talking about is, okay, how can we help people set expectations? I think she does a great job with you and I going, okay, here's an idea that you have is this, like, do you have a due date on it? What's its relative priority. The other things that I'm sure.

That's really helpful to me as I'm trying to provide direction because she's holding me accountable to giving her clarity. And so I think she's a great job with

JJ Parker: I was on the other side of that. Like, is it. Uh, asking people what their expectations of something is like, what's your timeline expectation? What is your quality expectation like, and having a conversation? I think it's completely appropriate to have those conversations about what other people expect from you.

And I'd say it's probably like. Eight times out of 10, you're going to find that the other person's expectation is lower than your own

Eric Henry: Exactly. Yeah.

JJ Parker: So, cool. This was a good conversation. So I encourage everyone to just kind of keep this expectations, conversation up amongst each other, and really start figuring out together like what everybody's expectations of each others are.

Um, because in the long run it will be, it'll make us more efficient. It'll make us happier because we won't feel like we're failing other people's expectations and that's like a huge part of it. Um, I was just make us a better organization.

Eric Henry: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it just starts with an awareness of like, what are we, what are we telling ourselves about expectations, right. Are our expectations, like I checked eight things off a list or are they, are they just nebulous? Or am I telling myself a story about expectations? And I didn't actually go in and seek clarity with JJ, like those types of things.

Just that in itself will help us really grow together and make sure that our P because there's so many other podcasts, we'll probably talk about things like pacing and what does success look like? And all of those things sort of start with expectations, like being clear about those.