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The Implications of Expectations

We human beings are at the same time complex, but predictable ... we have capabilities beyond any man-made device and we can also operate as though we have blinders on.

Some time ago I wrote a blog about expectations which referenced a flight I was taking on Porter Airlines (a company that continues to impress me ... rare for ANY airline!)

In the last few days I have had various conversations with people about the capability of my PDA (a Windows device) versus the Blackberry ... which invariably comes out as the much more preferred tool. The reality is that our corporate systems do not support blackberry and so we need to use Windows devices. How tough is that? Today people have an EXPECTATION of their PDA which means they expect a Blackberry type of capability and if the quality is slightly below that, then it is just not good enough. Not too long ago we didn't have PDAs, after that came Palm type devices which did not access mail and calendar remotely until the current generation of PDAs evolved. BUT we EXPECT the best ... and anything less becomes disappointing. Is the problem in the device ... or in our minds?

Another example ... ambitious people (I count myself in here) want to be promoted to more senior positions as they expand their experience and knowledge. There can be different thinking about when they are ready ... but when it happens there are expectations on each side. Sometimes the person being promoted does not realize the expectation on management's side. The promoted employee expects a more interesting position and likely more compensation. Management expects more productivity and they have a much higher expectation of the person's contribution because they are paying out more money. So ... an employee promoted too fast may well find themselves in a tough position!

There are a myriad of examples where expectations are "all in our head" but drive our behaviours and responses to situations.

We EXPECT our partner to remember our birthday ... its probably not THAT important in the scheme of things, but failure can lead to significant "fall out".
We EXPECT the buses to run, and somewhat on-time ... failure cause disaster!

We EXPECT a lot of things in life and attach mental significance to those events. Its not a bad thing, but a little flexibility in the EXPECTATION department might actually lead to more self-satisfaction and less stress!

Just a thought for a snowy day in Toronto!