Great Expectations

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What do you expect from other people?  Do they live up to your expectations?

The Pygmalion effect is the phenomenon whereby the greater expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.

A famous experiment was carried out by two men – Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson (1968) to test this effect.  Their study showed that children’s performance improved significantly when their teachers had greater expectations of them.  Although the children in the study had average scores prior to the experiment, the teachers were told that this group of students were high achievers and would outshine other students in the class.  At the end of the year, the results achieved by the experimental group indicated that the teachers’ expectations of them positively influenced their final scores.  The experiment demonstrated that the teachers’ expectations created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This makes me think about our ability to influence other people and their performance simply by having ‘great expectations’ of them!  It makes me ask the following questions:

  • What expectations do we have of our children, our family, our friends?  Are our expectations high or low?
  • What expectations do we consistently have about our employees? Our boss?  Do we look for evidence to support our expectations?
  • What are our expectations of ourselves?  Do we need to raise these expectations and expect better for our lives?

So, my message today is:

Look for the ‘awesome’ and not the ‘average’ from the people you interact with….including yourself!

Don’t expect people to be good…..expect them to be GREAT and give them the opportunity to meet your great expectations!


“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right!”           Henry Ford


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