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Expectations Raised. Oh Shit…

It is no secret that the state of the economy has required organizations to rethink how they operate. In fact, companies that once raked in money hand-over-fist in the late 90s and mid-2000s, are now realizing the customer experience is “actually” important and expectations of employees have to be raised to drive customer and company growth. Subsequently, raised expectations usually drives further evaluation of talent and performance, which can have many employees thinking:

Oh, shit!

Oh, shit is correct because performance, capabilities, skills, and experience will be evaluated. Organizations are no longer in the camp to employ poor performers or those “OK” with doing minimal work. One thing this recession has provided many companies with is a wake-up call that practices and thinking have to change. And that change begins with having forward thinking talent who can establish meaningful relationships with customers and lead employees.

So, what happens if you are one of those employees thinking oh, shit?

Be Honest With Yourself

Honest with myself….I am.

Yeah, right. Most employees are not honest with themselves, which is why performance review time can be nerve racking. Therefore, to be honest with yourself requires checking your ego at the door. Egos can get in the way of allowing us to know how others perceive us, where our performance “truly” ranks, or where we have opportunities for improvement.

Evaluating yourself can sometimes be a painful journey, but can also be enlightening. If you take what you find to heart, it can be a game changer for you.

Ask Others for Candid Feedback

Performance reviews are not the only point in the year you can ask for feedback. In fact, there are 365 days that are provided to ask for feedback. The key is to not just ask for feedback from your fellow co-workers, but also friends, family, etc. Asking for feedback may be a starting point for you if you are having issues being honest with yourself. Sometimes it takes the words of others to get the scoop on how you really perform, behave, or communicate.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Once you have taken the opportunity to evaluate yourself and gain feedback from others, it could be determined you need development. I know asking for help to learn or grow can be scary, but remember what I told you earlier:  check your ego at the door. If you allow your ego to get in the way of asking for help, it could ultimately determine your fate of whether you stay or go.

Let Go of the Past

Over the years, I have come across many employees who hang on to the past. I hear, “this is how we have always done it” or “I bet other companies aren’t changing this much”. You want the truth? Yes, all companies are changing this much. Change is needed to keep up with the growing, evolving economy, workforce, customer and consumer. Organizations cannot continue to operate the way they did 30 years ago and allow mediocrity to run the business with the hopes the customer decides to stay.

Wake up! You have to continue to evolve and change.

Evaluate if You Want to go Down this Path

Changes are inevitable, but it doesn’t always mean they are the right for you.

Just because a company is changing and raising expectations doesn’t mean you have to stay. Yes, we all have to work, but the reality is if the change is not something you are capable of or don’t want to proceed with, it might be best for you to get off the bus (this goes back to being honest with yourself). No one will judge you for identifying it isn’t a good fit for you anymore. Organizations change, as well as people and it is perfectly natural if the two do not stay in alignment.

That Wasn’t Easy

I know reading this post wasn’t easy, but I also know evaluating one’s self isn’t easy either. However, it is this evaluation that pushes us to move outside of the norm and into the evolutionary. Keep in mind, evolution drives change, not revolution.

Photo Credit:

J. C. Wert

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14 thoughts on “Expectations Raised. Oh Shit…

  1. Chris,

    Great post, thanks.

    Stretch goals are much talked about in HR circles and can be a real driver of “oh shit” moments for employees.

    I think the burden is really on the company to provide a supportive environment where:

    – mistakes are allowed or encouraged
    – feedback is given in a developmental way
    – employees are encouraged to stretch and fail (versus playing it safe and meeting every goal)
    – self-assessments are 100% focused on the truth, and not on pleasing your boss

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