Our Expectations Frame Our Experiences
December 24, 2015 Leave a comment
Our expectations frame our experiences – no matter if we believe we:
- Prefer summer over winter
- Like light paint colours vs dark
- Dislike vegetables
- Expect Millennials to live up to the common negative stereotype
But what if we put aside biases, assumptions and judgements?
What if we approached an experience as new – looking forward to the experience vs. looking forward to a long list of disappointments. Glass half full vs glass half empty?
It’s important to be aware of our expectations as our workspaces become more diverse, filled with people with many generational differences, social differences and cultural differences. It’s also important as the work we do becomes more complicated. More and more the work we do requires us to and trust specialists. If we don’t stay open to innovation and new approaches to traditional ‘structures’ we get left behind quickly (example: Blackberry/Research In Motion).
Studies demonstrate our expectations frame our experiences and the behaviour of others. Studies with parents and children show that “Parents who believe they are simply being realistic might actually contribute to a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Buchanan discovered that when mothers expected their children to behave badly more often than not… they did. Christy Buchanan, is a psychology professor at Wake Forest University and an author of a study that examined children and their mothers.
We Share Our Expectations In Many Ways
We share our expectations to others in many ways. It may be through our body language, facial expressions, words we use, vocal inflections, or of course even the opportunities we present. We might not realize we are expressing our expectations – and others may not realize they are picking up our expectations… but it does happen all the time.
Studies show that by changing our approach and our expectations we can change our audience’s expectations as well as their behaviour, their creativity, their success… ect. You get the idea.
Change Your Expectations
There is so much opportunity out there. One of my training specialties is generational differences in the workspace, so, no surprise that is one of the strongest points I’d like to make.
When Boomers expect Millennials to be lazy, self-absorbed and entitled I believe this Millennial stereotyping is hurting corporate culture and success.
Generational differences are an opportunity. I believe Millennials are helping Boomers and Gen Xers see it. Millennials are collaborative and they want to both learn from people with more experience AND add value… and Millennials have lots of value to contribute.
Eliminate any doubts you have about others and replace them with an air of curiosity and opportunity. Change your expectations of others and see how your relationships and business approaches change.
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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.
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