How to Close the Gap and Meet High Expectations - New Mobile Price in India | Mobile Phones Price List in India 2020

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

How to Close the Gap and Meet High Expectations

My wife often reminds me, I set expectations too high.

It's not due to an ignorance of reality or the romance of believing everybody is capable of perfection. Instead, it's my core belief and personal positioning that everything should be better than it previously was.

While I have high expectations in my personal life -- I yearn and silently plead for family members to make the "right" decision and I judge myself against ambitious goals and invisible measuring sticks -- I expect the most out of my fellow professionals. 

You directed an award-winning campaign? Congratulations. Now, how can we make it better next time?

You've used the same ad artwork in the same publication for the past five years? In what ways can we make this better? Is it new artwork? Maybe a different publication? Is the return worth the investment?

"Always make it better." That was my guiding verse at my last job.

I bought into my self-imposed mantra to such an extent that I had the statement printed in large print and adhered to the outside of my office door.

It was a daily reminder -- to me, as well as the members of my team. It was an umbrella direction for all work leaving our office and arriving seconds later in our clients' inbox.

The consequences of high expectations

Hand-in-hand with maintaining high expectations comes dealing with the gaping void between the expectation and the reality.

I'm currently working with a vendor on a high-profile project that is scheduled to last -- give or take -- the next 14 months.

The project's end product is a direct reflection on my talents; and with that, I maintain high expectations for every round and fiercely protect the project's health.

Closing my eyes, I can see how the project will play out -- I can visualize the sequences, I cut-and-paste layouts in my head, I anticipate receiving a new round, refined to near perfection.

And then reality arrives in my inbox.

The reality is a far cry from expectations.

I'm underwhelmed by the lack of attention to detail. I'm irritated by cutting corners and sloppiness. I'm disappointed. I'm silently pleading with the vendor to step-up and deliver.

I know the vendor's capable of more, of better. But I'm not seeing it. I'm expecting it, but I'm not seeing it.

And if I'm not careful, a single email containing a slap of reality can ruin my day.

The consequences of the gap between my expectations and the deliverable means I instantly stop trusting my vendor as much as I did at the beginning of the project.

I second-guess my decision to take risks and challenge the status quo with my vendor because I'm unsure they can execute my vision correctly.

They lost my trust, and it'll require them working harder, more proactively, and more detailed than ever before to make it right.

Meeting expectations as a small business

As a small business you're even more susceptible to being the cause of the expectation gap with your customers.

This threat begs your daily, personal reflection.

Am I in too big of a rush or am I too distracted right now to do this correctly? 

Do I understand how important this project is to my client, not just me? 

Am I simultaneously damaging my reputation with my client?

Could this action or my nonchalance be the cause of underwhelming irritation and disappointment?

It's your task to force yourself to answer those questions daily. Julien calls this facing the flinch.

My "always make it better" reminder was two-fold. Yes, it helped guide our practice and avoid tempting shortcuts on a day-to-day basis, but it also silently helped us meet our clients' own high expectations.

Because with every new round, and every iteration of a strategy, they inherently expected it to be better than the last.

Anything less is a disappointment. Anything else is a waste of precious time.

Athletes have a similar approach. When Kobe's Lakers were swept in the Western Conference semifinals, he reflected that the season was "...a wasted year of my life."

He didn't top the previous year's performance, he didn't even match the previous year's performance. Eighty-two games, and nothing to show for it.

He didn't make 'it' better.

It's easy to get too caught-up in the minutia of operating a small business, but unless you focus on how you can make your customers' experience better each time they return, they're going to grow bored.

And their boredom and underwhelming takeaways will build into their own gap in expectation. They expected A and you only delivered B. 

Don't allow your customers to seek-out a fresh and different alternative. Be that fresh and different alternative by one-upping yourself proactively.

That's differentiation at its core.

And if you do it correctly, that's something your competitors will never be able to replicate.

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