Apple, General, Work

Set High Expectations

Set High Expectations. In Personal Life. In Professional Life. For yourself. For your girlfriend. For your lives together. For your friends, colleagues and network. Setting high expectations results in the Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, which is the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. The effect is named after Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw.

How to do it? I have created a T-O-T-A-H model. Follow these simple steps:

1. TRUST people unless they prove you otherwise. I try and practice this always. Trust your friends, girlfriend, colleagues.

2. Give people their OWN SPACE. Don’t micromanage people. Its the worst thing you can do to your family, friends and co-workers. Have seen too many good companies waste themselves and fail owing to this evil.

3. Let people TRY and test. Give independence, freedom to try out new things. New strategies, new tools, new processes, new geographies, new ideas.

4. ACCEPT FAILURE as a fact of life. Like death; “failure” is a necessity. Death makes way for the new. Failure teaches us new things. To learn from them is a must.

5. Most importantly, show them instead of telling them. Set HIGH expectations.

I will take the last point – and exemplify a bit. Quintessentially speaking, its the toughest to do. How did Steve Jobs once initiate high expectations in his office when one of his secretaries was coming to work late. Did he shout at her? Did he fire her? Did he call a meeting with the HR? Did he send her a threatening email?



This is what he did, as recalled by Ron Givens.

From 1981 to 1986, Ron Givens was Apple’s director of quality, his office just two doors down from the company’s founder.

“People were afraid of him. I was 20 years his senior, so I wasn’t afraid of him,” Givens said. “We’d say, ‘What a stupid idea that is.’ Then, all of a sudden, we’d realize that it wasn’t stupid. It was brilliant.”

Givens says Jobs lived and breathed his job and held high expectations for his staff. Givens recalled one day when a secretary was late, and Jobs demanded to know why.

“(She was a) single mom, good secretary,” Givens said. “She said, ‘My car wouldn’t start.’ So, that afternoon, (Jobs) walks into her office, throws a set of keys to a brand new Jaguar and says, ‘Here, don’t be late anymore.’ He was always doing things like that, surprising people.”

Givens now lives in Cary. At 78, he has an extensive Apple gadget collection and an apple made of Steuben glass, a surprise gift from Jobs worth $1,000.

“He was just one hell of a motivator. (He) just could motivate you out of your socks,” Givens said with a laugh.

If you’re a Manager of a team of 5 people, or a CEO of 10,000+; try out my T-O-T-A-H model for a Quarter.

  • What “extra” are you doing to grow empathy amongst your team members?
  • What “extra” are you doing to show them how to do things better rather than telling them?
  • What “extra” are you doing to motivate, praise and appreciate them “shockingly” rather than writing scripted mails that no one reads.

It will guarantee you better results, outcomes and better integrity in your personal life (relation with your better half), relatives, parents and at the workplace.

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