Do your employees perform according to your expectations?

It has long been understood in the business world that people will perform according to the expectations that others have for them.  It’s a psychological fact that something called “The Pygmalion Effect” can account for huge differences in performance.  When management has limited expectations of their employees, they receive limited results.  When expectations are high, employee performance becomes exceptional.  

For a fascinating account of how this changed culture at Dunn-Edwards, I invite you to watch the training film “Pygmalion Effect: Managing the Power of Expectations” by CRM Learning.  In the film, you will see how a manager treats his high-potential employees completely different than the employees he considers are marginal performers.  And along the way, his expectations of employees turn out to be true.   It is amazing when you consider the performance level of your associates and employees.  What expectations do you have about them, and how do these become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

In a series of startling and well-publicized experiments, The Pygmalion effect (also called the Rosenthal Effect) was studied at length with elementary students, which proved conclusively that teacher’s expectations of their students became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  In a blind test, teachers were told in advance that some of their students had high IQ’s, and some had low IQ’s.  Even though this information was false, the educators behaved differently towards their students based on their expectations, and subsequent IQ testing found that the students who were “bloomers” achieved higher test results and the students who were labeled “late bloomers” had lower test results and lower IQ’s.  In short, the expectation of the TEACHERS determined results by the students. 

What impact might this effect have on your Sales Performance?

Why not ask yourself the following questions:

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    •   What emotions do you feel when you think about customers?
    •   What feelings do you associate with Prospects or Cold Calling?
    •   Do you think your customers need to be “educated” about your product to purchase?
    •   Do you sometimes feel your customers are too stupid to “get it?”
    •   Is the economy so bad that it’s killing your sales?

If you’re honest while answering, and my expectation is that you will be, I think you might detect some of your own expectations, and how they are impacting your sales performance.  If you expect the worst, you will probably get it!  And if you expect success, you’ll thrive!