Are Expectations Overwhelming Or Is Performance Underwhelming?

“Raise expectations forever and even Superman is going to let us down”- Seth Godin

Our relationship with pressure isn’t always perfect. Studies indicate we perform better under moderate pressure; however, it’s open to interpretation what can be considered as low, moderate or high pressure. There’s a correlation here to our output and to how well we perform.

As a productivity coach, I get to see all spectrums of how people work that range from those who are struggling to cope through to individuals who are excelling. It’s evident for some people that expectations are so debilitating they’re overwhelmed to the extent they’re unable to perform anywhere near their potential. But there are other situations where goals aren’t being achieved due to a person’s complete and utter underwhelming performance that’s caused by them not focusing or actioning tasks.

Either condition results in targeted outcomes not being achieved. What’s interesting though are the similarities that can be applied to address each situation. For example:

  •   Backward schedule – start with the desired outcome and work backwards to determine the key activities and timeframes

  •   Chunk it down – the saying “how do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time” is an awful metaphor to visualise but is a great concept to apply to simplify and manage large pieces of work

  •   Ask for help – there’s no shame in not knowing everything, however, there’s no excuse for not learning from others expertise

  •   Learn from it – people quickly lose tolerance with those who make the same mistakes repeatedly

It’s not always easy resetting expectations. However, if they’re unrealistic then they need to be managed for individuals to feel they have an opportunity to be successful.

However, if we’re not performing at the top of our game, then there’s no point blaming others. That’s when personal productivity skills, accountability and discipline need to be your new best friends.  

What do you need to do to ensure your performance is exceptional?