Secret codes for ‘Exceeding Expectations’ revealed

This article explains about factors that lead to exceeding expectation in your activities (either personal or professional). This puts your life in a traffic free express way! After understanding the ‘secret codes’ for exceeding expectation & once you started implementing them then no one can stop your growth by any means!

cloud catching

cloud catching

Whatever be your level in your organization, every time when you hear the word “Exceed expectations” from your manager, do you think it is a kind of cloud catching exercise for you? This feeling will be there when you have confusion on what really needs to be done to exceed expectation.

Just by hearing the term “Exceeding Expectations”, you get the general meaning that “over and above what is expected”. Don’t go beyond this simplest & straight forward meaning. If you start thinking too much about the term, you end up in doing ‘tread mill’ i.e. running in the same place & not going anywhere.

First and foremost step for anyone to exceed the expectation is to know what is expected. Expectations changes from time to time based on performed activities & experience. Expectation level can go down or go up from time to time.

Expected behavior is the grey area which is revealed only during performance review session. This makes the entire process of achieving exceed expectation harder.

When a manager sets expectations it is based on team member’s experience, skill and knowledge in overall work or in a particular task.

When manager decides goals, he documents and communicates only the expected outcome. The expected behavior is not explicitly discussed with team member. During performance review discussions, tug of war happens over the expected behavior as it is mostly subjective in nature.

Manager & team member need to analyze alignment of expectations with the high-level project goals.

Note: Though references in the below text talks about interactions between a team member and a manager, the term ‘expectation’ is applicable to all & not specific to one particular activity, hence you can apply these ideas to any activity. Also, degree of individuals’ skill varies from one person to another & this text doesn’t talk about how they can improve these skills as it is in an individual’s hand.

Exceeding Expectations Mind Map

Exceeding Expectations

Three main factors that decides ‘exceeding expectations’ for an employee (either it is a team member or manager) are – Proactive, Effective, Creating visibility. All three are interlinked as one helps the other and they share certain common elements.

Being proactive is the basic behavior expected on every assigned activity. In many ways you can exhibit this factor –

a)      From childhood, we are trained in such a way that we simply wait for instructions. This is real enemy for exceeding expectation. Even you know how to do, if you wait for your manager to tell then it will not bring you up above the expectation level. You need to start performing activities without prompting or at least you can inform your manager that you are doing it.

b)      You need to start assuming responsibility in the absence of someone (either manager or peer)

c)      As Einstein said “one cannot solve the problems at the same level at which it was created”. You always need to understand the big picture which helps in identifying issues before hand.

d)     You need to avoid mistakes either by following existing standards/processes set in the project or by creating your own standards/processes. This gives an excellent way to project you as a disciplined person.

e)      Whenever you encounter with a problem, you should not stop at that point and stare at your manager with blank face. You need to move from problem oriented mindset to solution oriented mindset, in that way you can identify & provide possible solutions or workarounds for the situation.

Effectiveness is another important factor that makes you to exceed the set expectations. You can bring effectiveness mainly through practice & disciplined approaches. Here are few areas where effectiveness gives more weightage to expectations

a)      In different decision-making scenarios – it can be a decision-making for general solution approach or a strategic decision-making or in an ambiguous/pressure situation. Usually work will be smooth and we encounter ambiguous or pressure situations once in a while, but behaviors shown in those situations has long-lasting effect in the organization history.

b)      Effectiveness in activity management has greater value in deciding where you stand in the expectation scale. Following a procedural way in estimating time required, balancing personal & professional life, planning and organizing activities will bring you up in the scale.

c)      Communication is integral part of whole expectation cycle from setting it till fulfillment. Effective communication happens when you understand things to be done in one (or few) round of explanation.

d)     Others will look at you if you start implementing action items (sometimes it is corrective actions too) as many lacks the skill of following up the action items. In this way you can make yourself stand out in the crowd.

e)      Self awareness – Though I mentioned it as last point, but this is having equal credit in securing high score in expectation levels. The one who understood his strengths and weaknesses can perform activities effectively. You help others in your strong areas & get help from others in the weak areas. In this way, you will complete the job within given timelines.

Creating visibility is the third factor for exceeding expectation.

a)      Visibility creation is in your hands & it is not in the size of activity that you are performing. You can make everyone look at you the way you do it.

b)      You can gain confidence of your higher officials by showcasing goodness in the work you performed & by the way you can also grab new opportunities with that.

c)      Again, effective communication decides the level of visibility that you are creating. You need to use every given opportunity as visibility creation test & use your full potential in doing that.

d)     Whenever you are included in a discussion or in performing an activity, everyone around you needs to feel value addition you make to that discussion/activity.

e)      Having a relationship is not just enough; you need to have a positive relationship that enables you to influence people positively. With positive relationship, your acceptance will be widespread & people will help you without ego or grudge.

Life Leading Quotes – for personal & career life

Past few months I created & referred many quotes in my conversation in social networking sites. I compiled them and provided here as reference for all of us.

Created by Me:

#1 – In any discussion(or conversation),our mind will accept only those thoughts that we believe true to our mind & reject all others as junk.Though consciously we do so,we will still store opponents message in the unconscious mind & validate when an event occurs.

Outcome of the event may strengthen the belief or shakes our belief system which may lead to change in mind – can be exactly opposite to our earlier stands


#2 – In health – nothing happens immediately (other than accidents). All are accumulation (or deficiency) of very very minute unnoticeable quantity on daily basis, but things are visible on a day which changes our life after that – example cholesterol, sugar, kidney stones, etc. Why don’t we understand this and avoid on daily basis to get rid of big surprises later?

Though I mentioned it as health, this is applicable for any department in life example – career, character, relationship, etc.


#3 – If you want to take a bad name, no need to do big sin.. be a manager.. automatically your name will get spoiled..

i like to share a story of my friend’s friend who is the main inspiration for the above quote.

That guy was a manager some years back. There was organization wide headcount reduction. This guy had 12 reportees & need to cut it to 6. Though he is against this move, but he cannot resist much. When he called people and told them about their departure – that feelings of employee, that feeling of that manager – no need for me to explain here. Repeated question which developer asked is “Why me? You are also part of the process with management & you are biased to this guy.. that guy.. why can’t i stay & send that guy”.. manager guy explained his status and stand on this mgmt move a lot.. but still no believers as the situation is so critical.
After that pain my friend’s friend renounced that position and joined as developer in organization.. he resisted any managerial position there after.. tell me is that is that managers fault of implementing organization policies? Can this be understood by the sacked developers unless they really move to a position of manager? I know still some guys left complain about this event and this manager is in bad pages of those guys..


#4 – Ever you do a task very well after saying ‘NO’ at first, people don’t forget about the ‘No’ that you said & feel hurt till the end. Understand that word has more power to win heart.


#5 – Ultimate difficulty in life resides in hearing a ‘No’ when you expected ‘Yes’ & vice versa. When we are putting a question across, we need prepare our mind for opposite response to what is expected. We are not doing this at all & getting sadness, angry, frustration, etc.


#6 – “Rich gets richer and poor gets poorer” you heard in ‘Sivaji’ movie. It is not because of the fate it is because of the activities they do. If you do right things again and again.. you always tend to get right results hence rich gets richer.. vice versa for poor.. reverse your action in that way reverse your results..


#7 – People wants to impress strangers & want to make new friends.. but they take their loved ones’ for granted.. start impressing from your closest circle that will create ripple effect & pay you back…


#8 – Doing charity to an old age home without taking care of your old parents in home is worthless..


#9 – When you compare with someone do this – character-wise compare with someone having very good character higher than you and try to be that guy.. money-wise compare with someone having less money and get satisfied


#10 – Even a very small stone can stop your vision if it is kept very close to your eye. Problems in life are also like that stone. Decide where do you want to keep the problems – near or far?


#11 – Your silence in a meeting talks louder than the powerful comments passed. “Speech is silver, Silence is gold” My mom tells this from my childhood.


#12 – If two people agreeing in all terms then one is redundant. Conflict is healthy & required for progress


Frozen Thoughts Magazine:

#1 – Never keep any mementos of sadness. Anything that reminds you of a past that’s not worth remembering, get it out of your life. Collect enough mementos of happiness. Anything that reminds you of a past worth remembering is worth preserving.


#2 – Have at least one relationship beyond doubt and judgement, that will liberate you from your worries


#3 – Man lives like a ‘victim’. He keeps assuming that he has done ‘sacrifices’ for his family, for his society, for his God. But, everything that unfolds in his life is the result of his ‘choice’. There are no sacrifices. (FT-Jun 11)


#4 – The proof of the process is in the results it produces. We need excellence and not explanations. We need results and not reasons. (FT-Jun 11)


#5 – While your success depends on what you communicate with others, your happiness depends on what you communicate to yourself.


Quotes by other popular people:

#1 – There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient.When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. – KEN BLANCHARD, Author One Minute Manager.


#2 – When dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion – Dale Carnegie


#3 – Here are some statistics to consider about Emotions: People experience an average of twenty-seven emotions each waking hour. With nearly seventeen waking hours each day, you have about 456 emotional experiences from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. This means that more than 3,000 emotional reactions guide you through each week and more than 150,000 each year!

Of all the emotions you will experience in your lifetime, nearly two million of them will happen during working hours.

It’s no wonder that people who manage emotions well are easier to work with and more likely to achieve what they set out to do (Bradbery and Greaves, 2005).


#4 – “Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice” – unknown


#5 – If you perform an activity in the same way again and again, you can expect same results without fail. So don’t blame others for results. This is called – “The Law of Cause and Effect”(Brian Tracy).