Part 4 – Short Stories: Managing Unrealistic Expectations

Posted under: From the Blog 9th of July, 2011

In Part 4 of our 8 part series of Neil’s short stories, Neil discusses spotting an emerging unrealistic expectation early and doing something about it quickly. If you don’t act early, your audience will just assume tacit agreement. At the same time if people are talking about it, then you’ve actually got their atttention. And if they care enough about an issue to pay attention, then you actually have a great opportunity to shape or re-shape their expectations.

“I’m more impressionable when my cement is wet” Billy Bragg from his album Talking Poetry with the Tax Man

Organisations are more impressionable when their “cement is still wet”. That’s the time to do something about it.

As an organisational leader managing organisational expectations, are you able to manage your own expectations realistically.

Managing Expectations: Do You Have An Unrealistic Dream? Are You Like The Monkey Unwilling to Let Go of The Peanuts?

“There is a tale about how a certain hunter catches monkeys in Africa. It can be very difficult to corral these intelligent creatures, so hunters have used a more inventive method…trapping a monkey by enticing him.
A small jar is placed at the base of a tree with nuts or other items which may attract the monkey’s curiosity. The opening of the jar allows the monkey to place his hand in, but when he tries to withdraw it, he is unable to do so without letting go of the contents of the jar. Believe it or not, some monkeys will stay there with their hand in the jar until the hunter comes back to trap them! They are trapped because they are unwilling to let go of something they are doing which is working against them…

More often that not, we are like the monkeys, because of our unrealistic expectations, we are getting trapped by what we are unwilling to release. We fail in managing expectations and our wants. We have so many wants in our life, we want THE house that we couldn’t afford the payments, but MUST have. We want the DIOR clothes; it’s so tempting we just can’t NOT having it although we couldn’t afford it. There are never ending to our wants and desires!

Are you one of those people trapped under this phenomenon? There is of course, different various to the monkeys’ need but doesn’t all of us sometimes bound by the unrealistic expectation and we just can’t let go? Those expectations hinder us from moving forward from achieving our goals and desires.”

So the moral of this anecdote is that unless you are able to manage your own expectations realistically, you will struggle to manage anyone else’s.

Add your comment