Failing to Meet Expectations

Big Red Car here.  Brrrr, it’s cold here in Austin.  Not “Hell froze over cold”.  Not even Chicago cold.  But cold for us Texas hot house tomatoes.

It’s 35F but it feels like 30F.  We are such weenies in Texas.  [STFU, Big Red Car, no we are not.]

Our weather in Texas is an exercise in managing expectations.

Super Bowl Expectations

If you are like me — well, nobody is really like ME, I’m a Big Red Car, but just play along — you were a tad disappointed in the Super Bowl game.

Oh, the commercials were great.  I must confess I just didn’t get the Cheerios interracial commercial uproar.  I liked the clueless Bud Light guy.  Funny.  I liked Budweiser’s love affair between the Clydesdale and the Lab because it was perfectly believable.

[Uhhh, Big Red Car, could you get back to the game, please?]

Oh, yeah, the game was a rout and failed to meet my expectations for a hotly contested game.  It is said that defense wins championships and apparently only the Seahawks’ defense got the memo.

What can one say?  The anticipated canonization of Peyton Manning did not get started well and then became an obscene sacrilege.  [Ooops.  Sorry, Peyton, but your Broncos took a barbed wire enema for all the world to see.  STFU, Big Red Car, can you?  The guy already feels awful.]

This was an example of failing to meet expectations.

The Presidential Interview

Prior to the game, the President went 10 minutes with the fearsome FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly in a cage match filmed at the White House.  This has become an annual ritual sandwiching a FOX News hand to hand encounter amongst several fawning networks slobbering all over the President’s suit.

The President toyed with O’Reilly — worse perhaps than the Seahawks toyed with Peyton Manning — and basically bitch smacked him for the whole world to see.  I am just reporting the facts here, no politics.  The President owned O’Reilly.

My favorite part of the interview was the President’s insistence that there was not even a drop of corruption involved in the IRS scandal blaming it all on FOX News and its minions like O’Reilly.  The President said it with a straight face in spite of the fact that several IRS folks have invoked the Fifth Amendment electing not to incriminate themselves.  Folks taking the Fifth Amendment is usually a reliable indicator that things are not quite right.

In any event, the President put a bitch smacking on O’Reilly that should get old Bill a bit of time in the ICU.  He was bruised and battered.

The Big Red Car must say with sincere admiration that he suspected that the President was an accomplished liar but this was a performance par excellence.  Well played, Mr President.

This was an example of failing to meet expectations.

Meeting Expectations in Your Company

The first issue is very simple — in the continuum of Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values, Culture do you provide a clear set of expectations?  If not, then a lot of the remaining conversation is moot.

If you do — they should be in the Objectives portion of the above continuum — then what do you do when you recognize a failure to meet those expectations?

You will be taking the measure of expectations in your performance appraisal review process.  [You do have a performance appraisal review process, Grasshopper?  Right?  Right?]

The pragmatic and seasoned CEO, particularly one who has founded a scrappy startup which is getting ready to change the world, realizes some very important realities about expectations.

1.  Sometimes expectations are simply not correct.  [Did you really think the President was going to look O’Reilly in the eye and say:  “Bill, you got me on that one.  The IRS is bad to the bone.  I take full responsibility for it.”  No, I don’t think you did.]

2.  Sometimes expectations are not realistic given the applicable time frame.

3.  Sometimes expectations — the attainment of specific objectives — are, in fact, met.

4.  Nobody every accomplishes everything they set out to do.  [Hell, not even a Big Red Car.  Haha.  STFU, Big Red Car, this is not about you.]

So what are you going to do?

On that note, Old Sport, the Big Red Car is going to leave you swinging in the breeze.  You have to do something but what?  Ponder it, brilliant CEOs, and consider the possibilities.  What can you and what should you do?

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway?  I’m just a Big Red Car.  Right now Peyton is crying in his coffee with Archie and Eli — pretty damn good company.