expected goal

Expectation is the root of all heartache. A quote usually attributed to Shakespeare, but as it turns out, Shakespeare never said that. Regardless, when we build up expectations in life, there is much potential to be let down eventually. Obviously, instead of disappointment, a delightful surprise could manifest itself just as well.

If we can avoid disappointment, why go through the pain? A pleasant surprise, on the other hand, is more often than not a welcome event.

In business (as opposed to life in general), that’s not really the case. Not formulating expectations is a recipe for disaster.

While launching new initiatives, a clear expectation must be articulated prior to launching them.

anticipation training

We can anticipate some situations, definitely not all. Nevertheless, we can train ourselves to deal with both types of cases as they arise.

Those situations that we can anticipate, we should anticipate. Full stop.
If you’re selling ice cream, you should probably expect reduced revenue during wintertime. Many businesses deal with cyclical seasonality in one way or another. Ideally, strategical planning occurs as meticulously as possible.

For customer-facing businesses and jobs, anticipating should be done as wholeheartedly as possible. This is what the Japanese refer to as omotenashi. From a customer-centricity point of view, we should understand our customer’s desires before they can even express them. After all, who doesn’t like to be catered to their needs?

Situations that we can’t anticipate, on the other hand, require mindset training. In the end, you can’t control what you can’t control, so predicting the unknown consumes much energy. These types of situations require, when they manifest themselves, a combination of flexibility and resilience.

Anticipate when you can. Train your mindset for when you can’t.

past performance

People often get promoted as a result of past performance. What’s true of investing is also true of talent. Past performance is no indicator of future results.

It’s slightly more nuanced than that. If a talent typically performed well over the past, chances are, they may continue to do so. Provided there are no fundamental changes regarding the job content, trauma is suffered, and the talent feels valued and appreciated.

However, as a result of a promotion, the talent might now be responsible for other people. The way the talent has to report has now completely changed. If reporting costs much effort, it might be the case that there was no desire to change job (content) or be promoted (within the company) for starters.

Here is a simple solution; ask. Cater to the expectations of talent and ask them what they want, rather than making an unsolicited decision for them.