Understanding Needs and Expectations – Get out of that Dream World!

Understanding Needs and Expectations – Get out of that Dream World!

Hello all you beautiful people,


With only 45 more days until the end of this year, we are feeling very philosophical indeed.


Here at Food Bites we like to draw from our own mistakes and share a little wisdom in the hope that you will be saved the pain of making the same mistakes.  It’s just a small way we feel we can contribute to helping others.


Today we will be looking at a single word that could take on different meanings to different people – “Expectations”.


The Quality Management System Standard, ISO 9001:2015 first introduced the concept of understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties and ISO 22000:2018 followed suite.  What we have experienced is that for some or other unknown reason, this triggers a reaction where a Quality Manager or Food Safety Team Leader disappears into their office, close the door and write a procedure detailing what they think the needs and expectations of these stakeholders are (more about this in another blog).


History and our own experience tell a very different story though…  What we think these stakeholders need and expect from us, is not always what they really want or need and the only way to find out what they need and what they want is to do a very strange thing… We need to ASK them!


So, what happens when we don’t ask:

  1. We tend to carry on in absolute oblivion with the distinct impression that everyone is just so happy with us.
  2. We’re so convinced at how good we are that we don’t even begin to anticipate that anyone could be less than satisfied.
  3. When people do start voicing their apparent dissatisfaction, we find ways to divert their attention and look for other pretty distractions.  For some or other reason it’s like when you complain about a really bad experience and someone offers you a voucher for the same thing you just complained about.  Really???

But when we do ask:

  1. We are always surprised at how wrong we were, but this creates the platform we need to “delight” our stakeholders.
  2. When we understand the expectations of our customers, suppliers, service providers but most importantly, our internal customers, we have the opportunity to focus our processes on delivering on these expectations.
  3. Drawing on these expectations also helps us prioritise tasks, allocate resources, identify improvement opportunities, and achieve our organizational objectives.

In today’s day and age all people really want is to feel special and if you are tuned in to their expectations just as they are tuned into yours, we will have a lot of people feeling pretty special!  And as an added bonus, we can streamline the business, moving away from silo-mentalities to delight our external customers.


This week’s contribution is inspired by a very special person – thank you to Ilse for always being so humble and sharing the simplest things and inspiring the most profound results!


Until next week…  Hasta la vista!