I get it. It was a rough day and you go to bed that night expecting that tomorrow is going to be a better day because this time, you are ready. You drafted out a to do list and you had a plan. You wake up, you did everything according to plan. YOU WERE READY, you performed and you were excellent.
But life being life said, "BUT WAIT! There's more!"
Something just had to come up that you didn't prepare yourself for and things went downhill from there.
WHY? You thought yourself ready but really, "You were not" so when life happened and we all know life doesn't follow scripts, your day didn't turn out the way you envisioned it going. You then made it worse by not handling it well.
In my years of training and coaching people, I have seen different personalities and different views on readiness. As they complete their shift, you'll see a shift in confidence, performance, how they function at work and their interactions with their teammates. Whether the result is uphill or downhill depends on how ready they thought they were when they started their shift.
So who are you when you start your shift?
Are you, "Present READY"? You are there, that means you're ready to work but indifferent to performance that you armed yourself with all possible excuses when something goes wrong, not thinking about how your low performance is going to affect tomorrow. No?
Maybe you are "Even READY"? You are an average performer who is just there ready to complete the "to do" list from those counting on you for completion. That's it, job done. The end. Unacceptable?
Nope! So you are "Help READY" then? You are there to complete all those on your to do list but you know enough and willing enough to help out by completing "some" of your teammate's "to do" tasks but only when asked. Good for you but that is not nearly enough, is it?
Definitely not! How about "Team READY"? You see yourself as an above average performer, always on the lookout for more to contribute, learning what you can learn about your teammates' responsibilities so you will be to step in when the need arises. That's better but there has to be more, right?
Yes? How about, "More than READY"? You could be that high performer, geared towards being "more" that you learn not just about team's responsibilities but the company and everything about its operation and goal that you anticipated unrealized needs, gained the knowledge, developed the skills and readied yourself to deliver when the need finally arises.
Score! I see potential!
All of the above speak of working expectations towards what I call, "EXPECTED EXPECTATIONS". Afterall, we all know that expectations change. We just don't know when. Each of the cases mentioned shows a person's attitude towards work and the goal or success he wants and sees himself working towards.
The reality is, we applied for a position because we know we have the skills to deliver most expectations as per Job Description. The company knows this so it trains us to give us more knowledge and skills to deliver "ALL" its expectations.
Armed with already existing skills and the acquired skills from the company training, only a certain percentage of the new employees succeed. Only that number has the right attitude when it comes to succeeding and will hold great importance on the opportunity provided. These employees are the proactive ones. They learn and add value to themselves so they can be ready when faced with these expected changes in roles or when presented with added responsibilities.
Some do not stop there. They would learn everything there is to learn, anticipate company's unrealized needs and mold themselves to be that person who delivers and even provide great solutions because that person already saw this coming, prepared himself to deliver or present alternative solutions. These people are the high achievers.
BUT what happens if even having been proactively preparing yourself for these expected expectations, there suddenly is a need for something you didn't see coming? Things that not even all your training, your present resources, your teammates' support, experiences and even anticipation are useful in providing solutions? Do you have the confidence to act and launch yourself to success?
Are you prepared to be "Leader READY" and to face what I call the "UNEXPECTED EXPECTATIONS"?
In work or in our personal life, these expectations require from us more than we think or even know we can provide. These kinds of expectations call for the phrase, "Think outside the box" because when you find yourself in these situations, it would mean you already exhausted everything that you have inside the box where you keep all your training, knowledge, experiences, resources and training.
You might be thinking, "Well, this is where critical thinking comes in and I can do that!". Depending on how you process challenges, you may be right but in my experience, there is so much more than that.
While "EXPECTED EXPECTATIONS" require you to learn and advance within the confines of what you already have, what the company provides, what you learned about your responsibilities, your teammates' roles and responsibilities and the company's goal, systems and processes, "UNEXPECTED EXPECTATIONS" require those and more. You also have to develop the "PROPER MINDSET" to be "READY". The mindset that even if you're not in charge, you could "LEAD". But how?
Here are the TEN (10) STEPS I conditioned myself to undertake to prepare myself for UNEXPECTED EXPECTATIONS.
I: YOU DON'T HAVE THE SOLUTION... YET
- I need to accept that the box doesn't have anything for me at this point. I stop the, "Maybe it's here somewhere" or "I must have missed something in this box" attitude. It's the only way for me to move forwards. This is an "Unexpected Expectation" I am dealing with. If I really were in that "More than READY" stage already before presented with this problem then I can confidently accept that I have exhausted all my "go to" resources.
II: THERE IS A SOLUTION
- There is always a solution! There was something that caused it, therefore there has to be something that can be done to solve it.
III. THINK OPPORTUNITY
- Specifically, this is an opportunity to make a positive difference and to provide value. Some people don't have the confidence to launch themselves to success and will not step up. This is new, this is a challenge, I want it and I will succeed!
IV: TAKE INITIATIVE
- Believe that "YOU" can find the solution, not the person next to you. Take it upon yourself to be "the" ONE" and be enthusiastic about it. Never sell yourself short.
V: WHAT DO YOU KNOW?
-Concentrate on what is important first. Am I seeing the whole picture? What do I personally know about the problem? Find out what you know the "real" problem is and understand "why" is it a problem to you. Where is it coming from and how is it affecting everything and everyone else?
VI: WHAT DON'T YOU KNOW?
- I know that before I can find ways to win this battle, I need to get to know everything about my enemy. Do I know all the facts surrounding it? I be the first to admit, I don't. Knowing the unknown has proven itself useful in making dramatic changes to everything. Ask questions to get more information or even better, "all" information if that is possible.
VII: CREATE THE PLAN
- I got the real problem and am now seeing the whole picture. Now ask yourself the questions, "What are you going to do and how are you going to do it." Carefully create a plan or plans. In your mind, picture how each plan you created is going to play out over and over and then select the best possible solution to focus on.
VIII: BE READY
- It may work but then again, it may not. Be ready as things could go sideways. Don't lose it, stick to the plan so be ready with alternative ways and solutions.
IX : EXECUTE AND BE SMART
-Perfectly execute the process. Do not rush results. Accept that for this to work, it may take time. You need to be patient as there are a lot of things to consider and note. Enjoy the process and the journey as you will find that you will learn a lot as you execute each step in the process. Be positive!
X: GET GREAT RESULTS.
-Do not lose attitude if you meet obstacles. If you're not getting the results you envisioned, be creative and work through the issues.
-Personally, I know that this is when my critical thinking, confidence in my ability to get what I want and my positive thinking will best help me.
-When faced with a setback, I create solutions.
-If I have to recreate a process, I'll do it.
-If it calls for me to start from the beginning, I'll go for it.
-Don't give up, don't make excuses when you fail the first or countless times because that is accepting you don't have it in you to progress
-Do not stop! Instead, do what it takes to get the result you want.
UNEXPECTED EXPECTATIONS are major and minor problems, projects or tasks you encounter or given to you that you didn't see coming or that the company didn't prepare you for. How you deal with this situation will tell you how ready you really are.
Summit VA Solutions, Inc trains and teaches Virtual Assistants to be ready not just for the "EXPECTED EXPECTATIONS but to prepare themselves for "UNEXPECTED EXPECTATIONS".
FIRST: With all our already existing and acquired skills and experiences walking in, we get trained to do the expected.
SECOND: We work our way through, use all our trainings, resources (including the support) and knowledge to do the anticipated.
THIRD: And then be proactive in learning more to face the unexpected expectations.
FOURTH: We don't stop!
We don't stop learning to achieve greater heights of productivity, performance and success, not just for ourselves but for the people we work with.
So, when you prepared yourself for today, did you set yourself up to fail, stay even or be more? Are you just EXPECTED EXPECTATIONS ready or are you also UNEXPECTED EXPECTATIONS ready? Are you "really" ready? Are you "Leader READY?"
Let me leave you with this:
"If there is one person in this world who can evaluate you, it's "YOU" so if you believe you can do it, it's easy to develop the "HOW" to do it. Be Leader READY!"