My wife and I arrived at a very popular resort restaurant without a reservation last summer while on vacation. Our names were put on a list, we were given a pager and told the wait would be about 15-20 minutes.
With time to kill, my wife and I decided to visit the restrooms. On my way out of the restroom after only 10-12 minutes of waiting, my pocket began to vibrate.
Our table was ready.
I never had an experience like that.
I began to immediately feel betrayed and misled, wondering if this restaurant had sandbagged the process to set themselves up for success.
Typically, in my experience restaurant waiting is second only in frustration to waiting rooms in doctor’s offices and motor vehicle departments.
During our lunch I questioned my wife if she thought the restaurant had purposely set the expectation for a longer wait so that we would be pleasantly pleased when our pager went off sooner than expected.
So, what? I figured it’s not a bad way to operate, if you are consistently exceeding people’s expectations, is it?
Even better if you are consciously running your business to always exceed expectations.
Managing expectations is the key to many things in life, especially our own personal happiness.
Most upsets, conflicts, mis-understandings come from unmet expectations.
For that reason it’s best to manage expectations as directly as possible.
The only way to do so is on the front end of the situation.
One of the biggest causes of disappointment in the workplace is around unmet performance expectations.
This is mainly because expectations are not managed at the outset of the employer-employee relationship, or at the beginning of an employee’s performance period.
If expectations are clearly articulated and agreed upon at the outset, it’s easier to measure progress and discuss the actual observable performance that occurred without upset or hurt feelings.
Another example of managing expectations is around change management.
People resist change because of the false expectation and desire that change not occur. Yet, if one expects change to be the norm, it ceases to be an issue and the change can be managed more effectively with less stress.
If the expectation is that change isn’t the norm and shouldn’t be expected, resistance arises.
I’ve found it extremely useful in business and personal life to be proactive and manage my expectations in a way that always sets me up for a positive emotional experience.
I recommend you do the same.