Friday, October 18, 2013

Exceeds Expectations

Back when I was a new auditor, we used to get performance reviews after each engagement.  The way it was set up was that you reviewed your own performance, based on your perception of how you did, and then your senior reviewed your performance, and you see if they lined up.  The options to choose from were something like, "unsatisfactory," "needs improvement," "meets expectations," and "exceeds expectations." I would laugh because "expectations" was such a funny concept.  If I expected myself to do a phenomenal job on the engagement, and I did, then I would select "meets expectations."  But, that doesn't sound like the best review you can give.  So, should I select "exceeds expectations" instead?  Then I'd be saying I did even better than I expected to do - but why would I have expected myself to do anything less than the best I could??  It could go on and on.

I used to tell my senior that he should just lower his expectations of me, because then I would always exceed them.  For instance, if he would just expect me to show up drunk to work, I wouldn't, and then I would be exceeding his expectations.  He should expect me to work 6 hour days, because when I worked for at least 8 hours - BOOM, exceeded expectations.  I just think it's a rather silly review method, because is the point to have high expectations and the person meet them, or is the point to have high expectations and the person exceed them?  Wouldn't you then start having high expectations for them and they'd only be able to meet them in the future?

The reason this came up recently is because I was meeting a mover at a client's house to give them access. My clients have already relocated to another state, and I'm trying to make this process easier on them.  The mover called me the night before and said he'd be at the house at 9am. It's a 30 minute drive for me, so I appreciated the heads up.  I got to the house at 9am and waited.  And then waited some more.  And then a little bit more. He finally showed up at almost 10am.  I've done enough moves and repairs and remodels to know that contractors are notoriously horrible at being on time.  I get that.  But, when I saw the moving truck, I just had to laugh:

"Dedicated to exceeding our customers expectations"

So, what you're saying is, I should expect you to be 2 hours late.  Then, when you're 1 hour late, you still have exceeded my expectations!  I totally get it.

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