How often have you been involved in a change programme where unrealistic expectations have been given up front? There is a bravado that appears from time-to-time where companies state that they are going to be able to achieve a change far quicker than the norm. Unfortunately, this can often lead to worse outcomes.
In this short article, Jeff Bezos shares an example of a friend who was learning how to do a handstand. Apparently, the coach had to explain the dangers of unrealistic expectations and how they lead to poorer results. It suggests most people think that with a couple of weeks of practice they’ll be able to do a really good handstand. In reality, it takes 6 months of daily practice. He was using this example to explain how executives in Amazon underestimate what it takes to master the memo.
Whilst you might not be wanting to learn how to do a handstand or even write exceptional memos, there is a key lesson: unrealistic expectations kill high standards.
Are the goals and expectations you have for your learning, or a change you’re working on, realistic?