March 2011

The World of Expectations, Part 1

Expectations- we all have them, whether of ourselves, of others, or of the world and life itself. There’s just no getting around it. Really.

In fact, for the purposes of this conversation, I invite you to consider something. I invite you to come with me as we take a look at ourselves through the view called “human being as expectation.” Sound kind of odd? It’ll be okay, I promise- this is not “the truth.” It’s a view of ourselves (and our work, our lives, etc.) that, when taken, may just provide you with something new; like maybe a new insight into your own performance or experience, or a new opening for action where you didn’t see one before.

See, that’s what we do here- we engage in new (and sometimes counter-intuitive) views such that we’re left with new possibilities, new opportunities and unprecedented and maybe even previously unthinkable results. So again, for the sake of what you’re committed to in your work and your life, I ask you to try this on.

Expect: to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of. (Random House, 2011)

Let’s start right where we are: right here (aren’t we always?). Why are you reading this blog right now? I’d imagine it’s because you think that it may prove valuable to you in some way, yes? So you’re expecting it to be worth investing your time and attention in, right? Great (we share that expectation, by the way).  Or maybe you’re just bored and have some free time at the moment. Even then, can you see that the very fact that your time seems to currently be “free” is a function of how you’re expecting the rest of the day, week, and so forth to go? For instance, if you had a project deadline four hours from now and five hours of work to do to finish, I don’t think that your time would seem so “free”, would it?

My assertion: Take a close look, and I think you’ll find that who you are (your thoughts, feelings and actions) in any given moment is perfectly correlated with the future you’re expecting. Make sense? Please read that statement again. I’m saying that how you are being in any given moment, including how you feel and what you do or don’t do, is perfectly matched with and reflective of the future that you are, in that moment, anticipating. Is that clicking for you? Or maybe it seems very obvious, leaving you wondering, “So what?” That “so what”, that constant and pervasive concern for the future is exactly what we’re pointing to.  And don’t worry, we’re getting to “so what”- but now just notice how you’re now being, and how that is intimately connected with your expectations.

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Service is Missing

Service is missing – this is not hard to see. Not everywhere, but lack of service is so widespread as to be the norm. I believe that service is for the most part missing as a value and attribute of organizations that are, like it or not, in the service business. I believe that service is a mind set, not tasks or labor. It is, rather, a commitment one makes to have people feel welcomed, respected and valued. It often involves the exchange of something of value (it could be information or knowledge) and most significantly, it is a way of being that leaves people feeling “taken care of.” In some situations this can simply be called “hospitality”, but it is more than that.  Service is a personal commitment, a way of being that others are satisfied.

Yesterday, I walked into a local establishment for breakfast and had to interrupt the conversations behind the counter to order. I have no doubt that the activities of the night before were of interest to the people who worked there – how drunk who got and with whom they left the bar – I, on the other hand, just wanted some breakfast, and having to interrupt, felt like I was interfering. There, in the local coffee shop, I watched the backs of the people “serving” customers as they went about their lives, with the fact that someone was waiting for them, that patrons were waiting, merely incidental.

I remember being greeted as I came into an establishment. I remember when it seemed that the people I do business with actually wanted me, personally – not just someone – but specifically me, to purchase their goods and/or services. I still find that quality in some places – and to those places I go often.

Read More »Service is Missing