You Get What You Expect

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer


Most of us have probably heard the tongue-in-cheek definition of a crazy person (e.g. someone who keeps doing the same thing, but expects the outcome to improve).

As managers, are we crazy to expect our organization to get better results if we don’t regularly delegate a bit more responsibility with a bit higher expectations to each of our employees, so that they and the results that the organization gets is continually growing ?

Why don’t more managers regularly use the process of delegation to get continual improvement in the results that their organization is able to produce? Isn’t delegating very similar to the familiar processes that nonprofits use to cultivate major donors (e.g. you usually have to develop and make a compelling “ask” in order to get the larger donation).

Stephen Robbins in his classic book “The Truth About Managing People” says in chapter 29 that “You Get What You Expect”. He says that management expectations are like a self-fulfilling prophesy.

If you don’t regularly delegate new responsibilities and expectations to an employee, you are, in effect, telling them that you don’t think they have the potential to be anything more that what they already are. You are likely to get little more than what that employee has always done for your organization.

However, if you treat someone as if they had great potential by taking the time to continually delegate new and interesting opportunities for growth, they are likely to grow to fulfill your high expectations of them.

You get what you expect. And you send that low or high expectation message by how often you take the time to delegate a new and interesting growth opportunity to each employee.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,