A Cinderella Story

A good friend of mine’s Father taught at the University of Regina, Al Derges was one of the best professors, ever.  You can even see for yourself here, an almost perfect rating on RateMyProffesors.com.  My time spent at University had very few memorable classes to say the least, but Al had more than one exceptional class and this one had some significance for me recently.

Pygmalian in Management was a Harvard Business Review article we were to read and write a response to.  It’s a great story and I encourage you to read it but the moral is “a manager’s expectations are the key to a subordinate’s performance and development.”

What we expect out of people is usually what we get.

I coach volleyball, high school senior boys.  When I go into a season I expect the best from them, nothing less.  This year we began the season with only one returning player, so we were a very young team, if not the youngest in the league.  Rebuilding year everyone thought, I’m sure even some of the players had thought that as well, but not the coaches.  The head coach and I decided that we were going to set goals as a team this year and expect nothing less but 105% of effort to get there.

Our season was far from perfect, finishing fourth place over all, we went into quarter finals as slightly favored to win, we did.  Semi finals we were under dogs, we won.  Finally we made it to the city final, fourth place up against the first place team.  The team knew what us coaches expected out of them even though we were a long shot to win.

On the back of our team room, sticky tact to the door resides a piece of paper stating our goals, one of which was to win city finals.  We did.  Even losing the first set and coming back from a deficit of six to one in the final set, our expectation of the team to do better than anyone else would expect won us a championship.  I don’t take credit for the win and it probably was a host of other reason WHY we won but I am positive that we never would have got anywhere if we didn’t have such high expectations of the team.

The next time your staff underperforms or you’re looking at how to motivate someone, maybe try inspiring them to outperform with an unbelievably high expectation.

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