Tag Archives: Expectation Setting

Client Focus: Telling Him He Has No Clothes



As you may know, the folk tale The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen is the story of two dishonest weavers who convince an emperor that they can make him a set of clothes which can only be seen by competent people.

When the emperor and his underlings can’t see the non-existent suit of clothes, they pretend that they can, to avoid exposing their own presumed incompetence.

A young boy, who isn’t clear on the concept, sees the emperor parading around naked and cries out, “He’s not wearing any clothes.”

It’s a common parallel in the business world. If the boss says something incorrect – or even stupid – in a meeting, few, if any, will point out the faux pas in public. Many will not even point it out to him or her in private.
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How to Lose Business by Gold Plating

How to lose business
How to lose business by gold plating

I worked my way through college waiting tables.  At one place I worked, we had a cook who treated employee meals differently than customer meals.  Customers received the standard fair.  They got what they ordered.  But when an employee went on break and ordered a meal, this cook had a tendency to “gold plate” it.  If you ordered a cheeseburger, you were likely to get double-bacon cheeseburger.  Side of fries? You would get a big honkin basket of fries.

It was a nice gesture, but we would often get much more than we could eat. Sometimes we would get something we didn’t even want. We could see that he was trying hard to get in good with his fellow staff members. But he was trying a little too hard. It was overkill.
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3 Ways to Make Yourself Expendable

Make yourself expendable
How to make yourself expendable

We work in an environment of nearly constant change.  Technology has not only changed the way we do virtually everything, the rate of change increases at a more rapid rate every day.

For those who work in technology, the job market is pretty good these days.  Despite what are considered high unemployment numbers for the nation as a whole, if you work in technology, you’re most likely in high demand.

A good job market is like a middle-aged man in a Hawaiian shirt.  It hides a lot of sins.
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What if Your Plumber Gave You “IT” Customer Service?

customer service
Would you put up with poor customer service from your plumber?

Imagine a scenario where you have a pipe that leaks under your kitchen sink.  You may be an expert user of water and all things plumbing, but when it comes to the technical solution of fixing a leak, you know enough to turn to the experts.

So you call a plumber who comes to your house to investigate.  You show him the leak and tell him, “That pipe right there needs to be replaced.  How much will you charge to replace it?”

The plumber, by virtue of his title, knows a little more about plumbing than you do. He investigates the leak and determines that, in addition to the pipe you have pointed out, there is another pipe that needs replacing.

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Estimating Your Work Like Ferris Bueller

Estimating your work
Estimating your work like Ferris Bueller

I live in the Chicago area and I love the city of Chicago.  As an extension, I love the movies based in Chicago.  From The Blues Brothers to The Untouchables to all of the National Lampoon Vacation movies (including that Marshall Field’s scene in Christmas Vacation), I always love the great movie scenes in Chicago.

One of my favorite Chicago-based movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  For the unfortunate few of you who have not seen it, I’ll give a brief synopsis:

Ferris, a high-school student, plays hooky with his girlfriend and best friend to see the sights in Chicago.
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Why Do You Want to Work From Home?

Work from home
The home office

Working from home is a growing trend in the business world.  In an effort to cut back on office space and other overhead costs, many companies have set up their employees with the technology they need to do their jobs in their home offices.

The big issue that management has with WFH arrangements is trust. How do they know their employees are working if they can’t see them working? One could argue that perhaps they shouldn’t hire someone they don’t trust, but that’s a topic for another blog.
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When Expectations and Reality Collide

When Expectations and reality collide
When Expectations and Reality Collide

A detour

Sam was making good time. He was cruising down interstate 94 ahead of schedule to meet his daughter in college.  If he could keep up at this rate, he would be there by six o’clock to take her to dinner.

And then it hit.

He saw up in the distance that cars were stopped, lined up for as long as he could see.

“Damn it!” he said to no one else in the car.
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Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma

pushing too hard
Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma

Have you ever worked so hard that you didn’t get anything done?

The elusive banana

The monkey’s dilemma is a well known story about how hunters figured out a way to capture monkeys in the jungle.  They would place some food that appealed to monkeys, like peanuts or a banana, in a box with an opening in the top just larger than a monkey’s hand.

A monkey would come along, stick his hand in the box to grab the food and be unable to get his closed fist through the hole.  Hunters would be able to catch the monkey because it stubbornly would not let go of the food even to save its life.
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Unnecessary Anxiety

unnecessary anxiety
Unnecessary Anxiety

During the late 1990s, then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan coined the term Irrational Exuberance to denote the absurdity of over-enthusiasm investors had regarding stocks – particularly dot-com stocks – at the time.

Unnecessary anxiety

A management approach that I’ve observed that is probably more widespread and just as dangerous is Unnecessary Anxiety.

This happens when managers… Continue reading Unnecessary Anxiety

Why You Can’t Be the Best

be the best
Why You Can’t Be the Best

What is the best car on the road?

What are the best flowers to give on Valentine’s Day?

What is the best computer you can buy?

At the risk of sounding like a consultant, the answer to all of these questions is…It depends.

The best car?  You can get the best selling car or the one with the most options.  You could say the best one is the most expensive car, or perhaps the least expensive one.
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