Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Barbu Cristian
Are you challenging your people? Do you not only set the example of how to work, but are you setting expectations at a level that makes them truly excel?

"High expectations are the key to everything"~ Sam Walton

Many times we underestimate the abilities of our people. We allow them to put forth minimal effort and allow them to think that is the standard. What would happen if you raised the bar? What if you made them truly work to meet the expectations in your office, workplace or company?

I've personally had the bar raised on me several different times in my career. Each time I thought it was because my leader didn't like me or was trying to get me to quit. I didn't realize in the moment that they were truly trying to make me better and to realize my own potential. While the bar was being raised, I have to admit that at times I was miserable. I felt like nothing I did was good enough or would make them happy with the effort I put forth.


“High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”~Charles F. Kettering

Each time though, I learned more about myself and discovered untapped capabilities resting just below the surface. It made me better, it challenged me and made me not settle for average. I spoke of one such leader that I had, Jim Anderson, in my post, the Ripple effect. Master Chief Anderson saw something in me and made a point of raising expectations for me. I didn't like it at first, but over time and long after, I realized what a great thing he had done for me.

There is not a, "One bar fits all" approach here. You have to evaluate each of your people and set individual bars. Not everyone will meet your expectations, you have to be able to determine if it's a lack of want to, or the ability to do so. If it's a situation where you missed on their ability, reset the bar. If it's a, lack of wanting to meet your expectations, then you have to find the proper motivation to get them to reach higher.

What does raising the bar do for your people?:

  • It destroys the status quo: When you let people see that their "Normal" work performance will not suffice, it will reset the norm in your office. 
  • It unleashes your workers potential: There are those that work for you that do not truly know their potential, mainly because no one has ever raised the expectations for their work performance. You will be amazed at the transformation that will take place with your people when they understand and take to heart their own potential.
  • A culture of excellence will become the standard: Over time, a culture of excellence will start to develop and build in your office or on your team. It will cause buy in, loyalty and better attitudes toward challenges as well. Members will hold each other accountable to this new standard as well. 
“Don't lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.”~Ralph Marston


John D. Watt said...

I really like the point about creating a culture of excellence.

Voices of Leadership said...


Thanks for commenting, it is appreciated. I'm glad that you found the post helpful.

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