Managing expectations


A few days before the end of the school term, our four year old had a sports day at her school. As it was her first, we were really excited about it and we both  took time off work to attend it. My conversation with her on that morning went something like this:

Me: Mimi mummy and daddy are coming to your sports day…
Her: Yes mummy. Our teacher told us we are going to have a lot of fun.
Me: I am really looking forward to it.
Her: But mummy do you know all my friends are faster than me?
Me:…. ee( i was still trying  to find the right words to encourage her but she continued)
Her: But i am very good at colouring and numbers and balancing also…

So we went to the sports day and she participated in three events and came first in one and second in another. We were really proud parents and i might have irritated my sibblings with my constant updates on the family chat group with little videos and photos and ofcourse my hashtag that i created especially for this #livefrombelgravia.

As i reflected on the day later, i realise there is a lot to learn from my four year old about managing expectations in the workplace and i guess anywhere else in life. I am sure we have all defined our key performance objectives for the year. The question is what have you promised to deliver?

There is a fine balance that one needs to strike. I do not believe that one should underpromise knowing well they will overdeliver. I also do not believe one should promise things they know will not be achieved.  A real and clear understanding of the macro environmental dynamics and how they  impact  on your delivery of your KPIs is needed. Its important to be realistic BUT still having a stretching target that takes you out of your comfort zone.

I had an opportunity to talk to one of my daughter’s teachers who confirmed that during the school practice sessions, our daughter had not really been the fastest. When she told me her friends were all faster than her, she was not underpromising. She was just telling me what had transpired. Obviously it was unintentional on her part but my expectations for the day were managed. I also believe despite this, she still wanted to do better and still believed she could and hence her really great performance…. well according to me her mother:):):).

Quarter 1 of 2016 is already gone but if you are still aligning with your line manager on your 2016 objectives, take a learning from my four year old…..manage expectations, promise what you can deliver and still do more to exceed the stretching promise you made.

Enjoy your journey.


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