Expectations are everything. Really, think about it. Expectations help determine your satisfaction. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about an interview, a vacation destination, or a restaurant. Even before the event occurs, your level of expectation may already be determining the outcome. If you’re expecting too much, you’ll only be disappointed!
A timely illustration is my ongoing job search. I now see that my original expectation was too lofty. And, honestly, dealing with results that don’t match that great expectation has been my most difficult challenge. My expectation included: arriving in a new city, with my girlfriend being the only connection to the area, and thinking that someone would come calling (literally) after a few weeks of sending out a series of freshly polished resumes and well-written cover letters. That high expectation resulted in a huge letdown when, after more than 6 months and countless job applications (in the ballpark of 200), only one such contact has resulted in an interview. And, going back to the earlier note, I’m still waiting on that first phone call (my interview was setup entirely thru email).
Think about it the next time you set out on a new adventure. Maybe you and a loved one are trying a new Italian place. Maybe you’re touring a home that’s for sale. Maybe you’re interviewing a candidate for a job opening at your company. Set the bar too high, and reality will walk under it. More times than not, the expectation you set will dictate the outcome.
I have always held myself to high expectations. I work hard and love searching for a solution even as others give up. Yes, sometimes it leads to a little extra stress, but I believe it’s led to great things.
Two things are critical when setting expectations: clarity and difficulty. Let’s say, you’re conveying expectations to an employee; you can’t be too clear in communicating your expectation. Also, be sure to set the expectations to something within reach. Every employee is different, some will rise to the task of conquering high expectations, while others while cower away from them.
Especially in work situations, I believe we perform to the expectations placed upon us. What’s your take?