Monthly Archives: August 2010

Exceed Normal Expectations

This is part 10 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership.

We have all heard the old phrase, “Never promise more than you can deliver and always deliver more than you promise”.  It is one of the first business quotes many of us learned when we got out first jobs. And there is a lot of truth to it.

It has to do with managing the expectations of others and then exceeding those expectations to leave them with a great experience and great feeling of working with you.

What is interesting to note is that exceeding normal expectations many times does not have to be a herculean effort on your part with gut wrenching upheaval in your life. It sometimes means just doing a little bit better.

For example, do you know what the difference is between a baseball player that hits .200 for his career, makes just enough money to cover food, and never leaves Single A division and a player with a career .300 batting average, making seven figures annually, and in the Hall of Fame? Just one hit in every ten tries!

When I encourage people to exceed normal expectations, I mean to simply focus on making little improvements all along the way…not necessarily huge life changing shifts.

It’s like a horse race. I went to the Kentucky Derby two years ago. Now, I am not sure how much prize money is actually awarded, but let’s just say the first place horse won a million dollars and the second place horse got a half million.

In order to get twice the reward did the first place horse have to run twice as fast? Did it have to run twice as far? Did it have to train twice as long? NO.

How much better did the first place horse have to be than the second place horse? Just a nose.

Is there room in your life today to be just a nose better than yesterday?

Lash Out Mode

I grew up in a home that was in a golf course community. Hole #2 was my backyard. It was a fun hole to grow up on. Long. Narrow. Water on the left. Out of bounds on the right. It was the hardest hole on the entire course. It was where handicaps went to die.

I learned a lot of neat things living on that hole watching the golfers play:

  1. Words – I was not allowed to use.
  2. That a putter could fly 100 feet if thrown after missing an 18-inch par putt.
  3. That you could wrap a driver around a pine tree.

Funny how we tend to take out our frustrations on other things when we are really disappointed in ourselves.

Do you really think it was the putter’s fault when the putt was missed?

Was it the driver’s fault the ball went into the water?

I wish we only did this to things. You see things don’t have feelings. But sometimes though, I find myself taking out my frustrations on other people when I am really disappointed with myself.

How about you? Ever come home from a tough day at work and spend the evening yelling at your kids or arguing with your spouse? I have.

It’s almost like my emotions have hijacked my rationale and my behavior.

Don’t let this happen to you. When you find yourself in the “lash out mode”, stop, take a deep breath, and think, “Wait a minute…where is this coming from?”

For me it is rarely an appropriate response to lash out at another. I usually need to take responsibility for whatever has transpired and stop taking out my frustrations on others.

Exclude Negative Thinking

This is part 9 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership.

“Can you believe there is nothing chocolate on the dessert buffet!

You pay this kind of money and you certainly expect to have at least one chocolate item!

This buffet has certainly gone down hill since the last time I was here!

I cannot believe this!”

Have you ever known someone who whenever they open their mouth, something negative comes out? I just want to smack them! I don’t have many pet peeves, but this is one of them.

  • Whiners.
  • Complainers.
  • Naysayers.

These are the people who could have been given tickets to the Super Bowl on the 50-yard line and then complain that the team logo, in the center of the field, is facing the other direction.

It doesn’t matter what the setting is, they will find something to complain about, grumble over, or belittle.

Many of these people think they are being funny. But the truth is they are simply sabotaging the atmosphere around them…and you need to avoid them. Why? Because attitude is contagious and these folks will destroy the culture and climate around them and slowly suck the life out of relationships.

As I write this blog I am in Morgantown, WV, sitting in a very nice restaurant. The “Saturday Night Prime Rib and Crab Leg Buffet” is the weekly hot spot for fine dining in the area.

Seated at the table next to me was a woman who had been grumbling for 10 minutes that there was nothing chocolate on the dessert portion of the buffet.

Clearly, her dinner companions got fed up with her and just wanted her to shut her pie hole (I know, sorry, bad pun). I watched their evening slowly dissipate into a very negative experience.

After hearing all that talk about chocolate, I was in the mood for some too. I asked my waiter about the lack of chocolate on the buffet and he said, “Let me see what I can do for you.” He came back a moment later and asked if I would like chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream—I got both.

What is amazing is that many times the very things people are complaining about, they could actually do something to correct. But rather than try to do something to rectify the situation they prefer to grumble and whine.

While it is easy to see this in others, be careful that it does not worm its way into your life.

Exercise Effort

This is part 8 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership

As the old saying goes, “Men and rivers seldom drift to success.” Achieving dreams. Obtaining goals. Hitting targets. They all require extra effort.

Think of it this way…to truly fulfill your potential you’ve got to be a rubber band. A rubber band never fully serves its purpose until when? When it is stretched around something bigger than itself.

That’s what it is like trying to make progress on purpose in your life. Think of anyone who has “made it” in some endeavor. They almost always had to work for it. Stretch for it. Reach for it.

Whether it is the politician, the professional athlete, the best salesrep, the teacher of the year, the top manager, or the great mom, every one of them had to exercise effort to get there.

Oh, but stinkin’ thinkin’ can sneak in. Ever hear someone say, “The only way to really make money is to own your own business.” Let me tell you the folly in words like that…It’s not what is said but rather what is left unsaid that follows words like that. What’s left unsaid is, “Therefore I’m not gonna work real hard around here.”

Exercising extra effort tends to create extra opportunities.

While this principle is easy to see in your professional life it is also true in your personal life. For example if you want a great family life, it takes extra effort. It takes work. It takes sacrifice.

I have discovered (and I’ll bet you have discovered the same thing) problems at work are patient—they’ll wait for you to come back.

Sometimes at work we need to sacrifice some home time—but this is a two way street—sometimes at home we need to sacrifice some work time.

But here is the good news…there is no traffic jam on the extra mile!