Tag Archives: Expectations

What to Do with Blogging Employees

Great! One of your employees has started a blog. Now what?

By Cortega9 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
When I started blogging, a former employer freaked out. I would leak all of our secrets! I’d say something that reflected poorly on the company! I’d spill the beans on something highly confidential! Continue reading What to Do with Blogging Employees

5 Retail Leadership Solutions

My home state: Arkansas. It makes my heart bleed blue and white to see Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club dropping the ball so hard. If they would let me, I’d lead a workshop for any supervisors and/or managers at any Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club for free.

Continue reading 5 Retail Leadership Solutions

The Retail Leadership Vaccuum

Looks like we’re in a bumper crop of morons. It’s not a very nice thought, but it’s one that rages in my mind far too often. Especially when I’m in the middle of a store noticing a massive retail leadership failure.

Quick Read (Click to Skip the Story)

Courtesy Flickr User hobvias sudoneighm, CC
Courtesy Flickr User hobvias sudoneighm, CC

I just returned from Wal-Mart with two bottles of bleach and a box of lightbulbs. As I approached the front of the store to break my shortest-actual-shopping-trip record, my heart filled with dread. Lines and lines of piled-high baskets. Drawn like so many moths to the blue lights over three checkout stations. Continue reading The Retail Leadership Vaccuum

The Shackles of Expectation

Were you expecting an Expectation, Part 2? Joke’s on you. Or me, since I felt led to explain the title-joke.

Here’s the deal: expectations are sometimes healthy. We expect certain things: good service for a fair price, excellent service for a little more; an honest effort and decent grades from our kids; respect and teamwork from our coworkers.

Certain expectations, though, destroy opportunities.

Photo Courtesy Peter Eckersley, CC
Photo Courtesy Peter Eckersley, CC

I have used the example of Jesus’s Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem to illustrate the danger of expectations. It wasn’t wrong for the people of Jerusalem to get their hopes up. In their excitement, though, they missed the whole point.

People on both sides of the Messiah argument knew what Jesus was “supposed” to do. They crammed him into their “Messiah,” “Prophet,” and/or “Heretic” boxes. The high priests and elders weighed and judged him, the young Jewish politicians clamored for a mighty deliverer from their earthly oppressors.

But he disappointed them all.

Even Pontius Pilate, one of my favorite New Testament characters, failed the test of Expectation. Believing he had the perfect solution, that perhaps he would save Jesus, Pilate put a no-brainer decision to the people expecting a rational answer. Who should go free: the notorious murderer or wandering miracle man?

But they disappointed him.

Opportunities are destroyed when we expect:

  • Who He or She Should Be: It’s OK to expect a certain level of performance out of team members and friends. But when we try to fundamentally alter someone’s personality or trade out their strengths or hammer down their weaknesses, we’re wasting both parties’ time. Disappointment awaits! Get to know your team or group of friend’s strengths and play to those. You never know when your organization’s next visionary leader is sitting right in front of you. And you never will if you stifle her talents and shoot down her dreams.
  • What They Will Say: Too often we try to get our way or fulfill our own expectations by manipulating others. We manufacture buy-in through one means or another. Sometimes we’re so confident of our influence that we resort to the madness of wholly-democratic decision-making. When it comes to your vision, you’ve got to create genuine buy-in, and it must come from you. When it’s time to do the right– not the popular– thing, you’ve got to get the people behind the decision, not hitch the outcome to a coin-toss.

Shocked, the disciples fled a crowd that had days earlier swept Jesus into town in a raucous parade. Incredulous, Pilate washed his hands and turned over an innocent man.

In both cases, it was the arrogance of certainty that turned expectation into a deadly disease. Jesus must be this or that. The masses must punish a heinous criminal.

Don’t allow that same spirit to come over your encounters with new team members or friends. Humble your heart with the knowledge that there is still much to learn.

Don’t shackle greatness with your lousy expectations.

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Creating Experiences That Resonate

When my wife and I stayed at a Doubletree, the experience wasn’t perfect. But as we settled into our room, I scanned a piece of material describing the brand’s “Create a Rewarding Experience (CaRE)” philosophy of service.

Experiences That Resonate

This philosophy struck me; recently, I have been reading up on several businesses which focus on guests’ experience rather than solely on the product or service. In fact, as the market for companies offering services continues to expand, the buzzword seems to be “experience economy”.

Of course, focusing on or even marketing an experience seems simple when you’re offering hotel stays, vacations, or even, in my case, funeral services. It would seem the philosophy is limited, then, to a niche market segment.

Not true.

Consider Starbucks. Even when offering a product, experience is key to building a following or customer base to which price seems of little import when compared to how you make them feel. 

Experiences that Resonate:

Not Only Exceed but Create Expectations.

Call it being spoiled or having your eyes opened; when a customer, client, or guest has an experience that resonates with her, she will measure future experiences by that standard. She believes there is no better way to experience coffee than from a friendly, energetic barista with free WiFi and a clean, inviting community. Why would anyone want to do it differently?

Meet Unspoken Needs.

Most people will only be directly involved in planning between three and five funerals in their lives. They have questions but aren’t sure what or how to ask. Because I care for 65-80 families in a given year, I know what they need to know. When I’m ready to answer the questions families don’t know they need to ask, when I provide for an unspoken need, it instills confidence and brings comfort that resonates with my client-families.

Stick With Them

Recently, a fellow Funeral Director received a Christmas card from a family he served over two years ago. “Resonate” is more than just a word; an experience should touch someone deeply. As I mentioned, Starbucks has a reputation for creating experiences that stick. Imagine a stressed student fretting over finals. In her haste, the student drops her latté on her way out. Ugh! But when a caring barista rushes out to help and replace her beverage, an experience has resonated– and will stick– with a guest.

Come From the Heart

Those who create experiences that resonate are deeply invested. Whether it’s at a hotel, coffee shop, or funeral home, these people are dedicated to producing the perfect experience. An insincere effort- or a push by management to drive revenue by increasing “perceived” value- may succeed in merely satisfying guests, but will never produce that WOW experience.

Whether you’re a leader in your business, church, community, or peer group, you’ve got to find a way to resonate with your audience. When you do, your relationships will flourish. The rest can’t help but follow.

In the comments: How do you create experiences that resonate? Has an experience ever resonated with you? How did you respond; what did you do with it?