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9.18.2014

THE MOTIVATING EFFECT OF STATED EXPECTATIONS


I like to put my expectation for something right out there for the other person to see.  This is what I expect from you regarding this.  Sometimes I am very blunt and use words to lay out the cards.  Other times, I use body language, confidence, and probably an air to convey what I expect.

My daughter used to say growing up that I intimidate people.  Not purposefully do I.  It's taken me some years to see what maybe others might see.  I don't view it as intimidation, but rather a standard that I expect.  I honestly am not even consciously aware that I give off that vibe. It seems a bit strange to me that I seem to hold both the intimidation card and the approachable tell all card as well.  They seem incongruent to each other.  Maybe not.

I was in conversation with a friend recently.  She stated that though I have this draw a line in the sand, don't mess with me overly independent and confident way, I do occasionally succumb to people who do not tow the line as I think they should or met my standard.  I let them off the hook.  She is correct. The name "Nancy" literally means "full of grace".  That too is undeniably part of me as well.  I can most times look past the action to the heart.

No doubt any contractor who has ever been in my employ has had a healthy fear of me.  Any car repair shop.  Any customer service department.  I'm not mean.  I'm not rude.  Between my vibe and my words they come to know I mean what I say and I say what I mean.  They know clearly what my expectation from them is.  I expect THIS and no less.  I don't want the waters to be unclear for anyone.  That is the best way to have conflict later.  Clear expectations leave nothing to chance and minimize hurt and conflict.

Today I dropped off the jeep to the car repair shop across from my office.  I was clear with them the problem, what I thought might be wrong, and what I needed them to do.  Sometimes when you are a woman, in certain situations, men assume you don't know shit.  I threw out some lingo just to let them know my expectation came from knowledge so I EXPECTED it done right.  I highly doubted they would cheat me, I just clearly wanted the expected standard out on the table - that I trust you to do an excellent job.

We hired a 27 year old contractor to re-do our bathroom.  I think my husband had some serious doubts about Barclay.  After he was late multiple times in coming by the house BEFORE he even started the job, Doug checked out.  I quit responding to his multitude of apologies and reasons why he was late or had to change days or times.  When he would song and dance me while apologizing for not showing up, I would simply not say a word.  My silence spoke a message, made him nervously talk even more to make up for my lack of words.  My message came through crystal clear eventually though.  He finally got it that my standard was you mean what you say and say what you mean.  He stopped that behavior with me and began to be more conscious of his word to me.  And, if he couldn't be there when he said, he called me.  Lateness does not fly with me.  Follow through is a marker of what you're made of.

After getting his estimate and dealing with him in the steps leading up to start date of the project, Barclay stated his standard procedure was a percentage of the cost paid up front (most do) with the balance paid when the work was completed in full.  In all actuality, I think he knew he was on trial with me because of the numerous times he was late or begged off for this or that reason. Barclay didn't know Doug had pretty much written him off.  I was hoping this young man would not prove me wrong.  I would have to eat crow with Doug if he did.  I looked past Barclay's fault and saw his talent and his heart.  I was sure if I keep the standard clear and before him it would be ok in the long run.

He did not ask me for any money down.  My husband laughs and wonders what form of intimidation I pulled on him for the guy NOT to ask for one dime up front.  I tell him it's a vibe I give off.  Barclay completely finished the total bathroom gut and rebuild as of 5 days ago.  The day he finished I offered to pay the project in full. 

I was so impressed with his quality of work, I had already planted the seed for another large project I wanted him to tackle.  He came to know I was a person of my word and in response to my offer to pay the bill he said, "I'll be by later this week with the bill and an estimate and thoughts about the kitchen."  He was a great contractor, a clean freak, did amazingly impeccable perfectionist work, and became someone who ultimately delivered exactly to the expectation I had laid out.  Thankfully I didn't have to eat crow after all:)

Nothing though is more frustrating than when an expectation is not met. Especially when the expectation is so clear one assumed it didn't need to be verbally re-enforced. You don't want me to have to address you with that issue.  If I do, you best have Bactine to douse your wounds when I am done.  Standard is here.  You are there.  Then I'll love you into doing and being the person I know you can be!

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