The other day I was talking with a manager about her store’s sales. She’s struggling to get her staff to execute at the level she wants and needs them to achieve. Part of what she needs to do is replace the team’s bad habits with positive ones. Something I talk about a lot.
The longer we talked, the clearer it became that there is another issue. Then I realized - she was managing with negative expectations. Her total focus was on what her team shouldn’t do.
The conversation took me back to when I was still pretty new at writing articles. One day I received a scathing email from a reader ripping me for being such a negative person. I was shocked, because I knew my articles weren’t negative.
Just to be sure, I went back and reviewed what I’d written over the previous two months. Nope. No negativity at all, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. So I went back and reread the articles a second and then a third time.
And there it was. Although I wasn’t writing from a negative viewpoint, almost every article talked about what stores shouldn’t do. There wasn’t a single article on what retailers should do.
I could certainly see how someone could interpret that as being negative. From that point forward I tried to adjust my writing. Yes, I still write from time to time on what not to do, but it is balanced with what a person or team can do, too.
The same thing happens with managers such as the one I mentioned earlier, too. She is trying so hard to turn her business around that she has focused almost exclusively on what she didn’t want to happen on the floor. Her team has experienced so much negative expectations they are tuning her out.
We discussed how she can create positive expectations by focusing on the actions and behaviors she wants to see from her staff, and the importance of sharing the positive results she expects to happen as a result. That second part is huge.
Positive expectations create positive actions.
Positive actions create positive results.
It really is as simple as that.
So let me ask, are you more likely to share positive or negative expectations?
Here’s something you can do in your next management meeting. Have each person share what he/she can do to make his/her expectations more positive. Don’t be surprised when you see more positive employees and results, too.
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Doug Fleener, a proven retail and customer experience expert and speaker/consultant, helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their sales results. Visit the Dynamic Experiences Group website, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create extraordinary results. Learn about Doug's keynotes and workshops at DougFleener.com.