I’m an avid YA reader. Maybe I should keep it a dark secret since I’m well past the target age range, but given the popularity of recent series’ like the Hunger Games and Divergent, I feel like I can’t be alone. Also, you can only read so much about emotional intelligence and change management theory before your brain needs a break, you know?

My can’t put down go-to right now is the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Like the popular books mentioned above, the first book, The City of Bones, recently became a movie. I, against my better judgement, went to see it. And when about halfway through the 2 1/2 hour movie, it completely departed from the origin story and became ridiculous, I almost walked out.

Needless to say, my expectations were high and completely unrealized through the depiction of what went down on screen although I knew before hand it could and likely would happen that way.

Could I have done anything about these expectations (other than to lower them realizing that both the writer and director didn’t contact me for input)? Perhaps but we as humans allow ourselves to build up hopes, dreams, and an image of what we see happening. We expect our smartphones to move faster than the speed of light, we expect our partners to do the dishes without asking, we expect our leaders to be infallible. From the minute to the mighty, expectations are all around us and in the workplace, there’s more than the disappointment of a wasted $9 movie ticket at stake. 

A great article I read recently on Grindstone called The 4 Rules You Need to Help Manage Expectations at Work, talks about using 4 C’s: Clarity, Communication, Confidence, and Contingencies. Another way I’ve see it represented is the 4 dimensions of leadership: Understanding yourself as the leader, you leading your group, you leading your organization, and the way your organization leads others.

No matter the framework you end up ascribing to, understanding how expectations will impact your work is a long-term strategy that should inform your overall organization and management toolkit for success. 

Also, make sure you read the reviews before purchasing your next movie ticket. 


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