I had the chance a few years back to host a radio talk show. It was a weekly Saturday morning get together of people who would interact with the audience to share ideas, information and other resources.
The topics focused on building business strategies that we can use to create the level of success we’re looking for.
About a year and a half into the show, I realized that the demands were getting greater and that people’s expectations were becoming unfulfilled.
So I did an informal survey asking the audience to call in, send in, or just tell me, “What have you been doing to exceed people’s expectations?” The results were amazing.
After interacting with approximately 3,400 people, less than two percent could easily tell me what they do to exceed other people’s expectations.
In fact, 68% of the people felt that what they were currently doing was exceeding expectations because they would receive compliments for the work they performed.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Doing what is expected, doing a good job, or getting compliments doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re exceeding people’s expectations… It simply means that you’re doing your job.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- If you do a good job for someone, will they always do business with you?
- If you do a good job for someone, will they always tell others about you?
The answer to the above questions is a resounding no! Unless you’re exceeding people’s expectations in the relationships you’re developing, it is always possible for them to go elsewhere.
Here is an example from a Construction Project Manager. Let’s call him Phil. Phil is well liked and knows his job well. Whenever he has a construction project to estimate, no one seems to do a better job. He always builds the project for less then the budget allows.
Now ask yourself another question: Is Phil exceeding people’s expectations, or is he simply doing a great job? Or, from a cynical perspective, is it possible that Phil always over-budgets and just brings the project in for what it really took the company to build it?
Kind of gets you thinking, doesn’t it?
You see, even though Phil might think that he is exceeding his company’s expectations, he isn’t. He is just doing a great job and the company knows it. In fact, because Phil always comes in below budget, the company expects that Phil will do just that: come in below budget.
So what can we learn from this story? Consider this rule of thumb…
If others always expect that you’ll do a great job,
you’re probably not exceeding anyone’s expectations.
It’s when your doing things that are not expected
and doing a great job
that you’re getting closer to exceeding others expectations.