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False Expectations

Last week, I was watching my daughter at her state track meet. She made it in three events as a sophomore, which is truly an honor. I write about this not to brag, but to share what I observed during my 16+ hours in attendance :-)


I love meeting new people and hearing their stories; likewise, I think each of us even as adults reading this, can stand to learn something or at least give us pause from everyone we meet and even from every day experiences, including students and student athletes.


Watching immensely talented high school students from all across the state is an amazing experience in and of itself. This represents the culminating work of hundreds of athletes and coaches across multiple schools, ages and events. So, essentially- it's a meeting of the 'best of the best.' Yet, each athlete, including my daughter, puts immense expectations on themselves- not necessarily for winning it all, but perhaps an incremental goal of medaling (top 8 in each event receive a medal) or beating their last throw, jump or time.

So many of these athletes (not all of course) have had this focus; this immense drive; to push forward, and train for this culminating event.


No pressure, right?


As I was watching the ups and downs last weekend of athletes' emotions- the worst of which were a few false starts which equates to an automatic disqualification, it got me thinking.

While stiving for improvement and setting goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) is absolutely critical to moving our organizations, work life and career development forward, it made me wonder if perhaps we are setting unrealistic goals or false expectations... that are causing too many 'false starts'?


For example, the likelihood of a runner in the 3200 event (aka- 2 miles/8 laps around a track) will drop 30 seconds at a state meet is HIGHLY unlikely. However, dropping 5-8 seconds in a race like this IS realistic.


- Are you goals too hazy, such as- let's make more money than last year?

OR

- Reduce waste. Ok... how exactly?

OR

- I want to increase my team's engagement. Great. What is one step you will take consistently to do this?

OR

- Build a new strategy to execute on product x by 12/1. Well what are all of those incremental steps that will be needed to accomplish this?


I think you get my drift now.


In order to make things happen, we cannot set false expectations or there most certainly will be false starts- going down the wrong path, spending too much time on the wrong things, etc.


So, what is the right next move?

- Is it more deliberate, consistent time with a team member and/or team?

- Is it scheduling time for 'chit chat' each week to really get to know your team to thereby increase engagement? This takes time.

- Are you wanting to start your own side gig but you aren't devoting ANY time to laying the foundation, writing the business plan, planning for resources, etc.?


We've all heard the saying: how you practice is how you play.


So, let me ask you: how will you play next week? Think about your highest priorities in work and home life for next week. What is 1 think you will commit to doing differently?


I believe in you, but if you continue to set up false or vague expectations, you will have a false start.


Struggling with your team and/or your own career development? I'm happy to chat.



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