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Expectations Are a Funny Thing

Posted on 5/5/15 10:30 AM

Expectations are a funny thing. Often they are completely reasonable, such as with the rules of the road. You expect that everyone will stop at the red light and go on the green…and speed up on that yellow. Other times our expectations can be a little bit “off.”  Does anyone really believe that a “miracle” weight loss pill is the “secret the fitness industry doesn’t want you to know”? As a matter of fact, yes. Millions of people spend billions of dollars on such “secrets” each year in the belief that chemistry can replace hard work. 

 

Expectations, however, are an important feature of the human psychology. They are mental “leaps of faith” that allow for a mostly smooth functioning daily life. If we had no expectation that people would obey traffic signals, there would be a lot more chaos on the road. If we didn’t form expectations, the future would be a dark, faceless place filled with uncertainty. In many ways, expectations drive behavior. When we “expect” a result, we begin to act in a manner that promotes that outcome. Problems only arise when expectations are either not realistic or when two people doing the same thing each have expectations for a different outcome. There is, of course, a business application for this, but let me first provide a personal illustration.

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Topics: loss prevention, loss prevention programs, career development, Consulting, Audits

Attend What You Intend

Posted on 2/25/15 9:00 AM

 

They say the road to Hades is paved with good intentions. If that is true, than I say most of the heavy road construction was completed by the “new year special committees.” Those business groups we form in January and February charged with special tasks such as POS rollout, Training Initiatives, or Shrink. The intentions are, of course, in the right place. Certainly, in at least the first couple of meetings goals are met…and then comes Spring…and Summer…and attendance and attention wane.

Now granted, I’m not a huge fan of committees. In my opinion committees are as the British politician, Sir Barnett Cocks said: “a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.” My distrust for such groups is not born out of dislike for being a team player. Team’s are critical to achievement—small teams. Small teams with a specific set of goals, that follow specific plans, and include specific and individual responsibilities—I call it managed creativity. My reason for a small team preference is that while evolution may make great leaps to achieve change, human goals are reached through small and incremental steps. The more people there are milling around, the more likely we are to lose focus and misstep. But this isn’t an article on the pros and cons of committees. It is about “attending to what you intend.” A premise that is  much simpler in theory than in practice. 

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Topics: loss prevention, lp development, educate, career development, associates, Consulting

Is Your Most Important Client too Subjective?

Posted on 9/30/14 11:00 AM

"I hesitate not to pronounce, that every man who is his own lawyer, has a fool for a client.” A rather harsh proverb, but such things become popular because they contain an underlying and universal truth. The issue is not that an individual lacks the intelligence, the skills, or the experience to be his or her own counsel. The trouble grows from the conditions of the human psychology. Regardless of how much we desire it, rationalize it, or proclaim it to be, humans seldom can maintain objectivity. The more important the issues is to us, the more the emotional charge, and the higher personal stakes, the more likely we are to slip into subjective reasoning.
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Topics: Outsourcing, Consulting

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