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The People Person

The People Person

Monday, 01 August 2011 16:28

High expectations? Why not?

From my experience of meeting, listening and engaging with entrepreneurs and start-up owners from all backgrounds, they seem to have one thing in common: high expectations.


Not only of themselves, but their staff, people, teams, outcomes, ability and business stamina. It is a quality that often means the person is easily frustrated, let down or disappointed by the output of others. Equally it is a quality that more often than not drives the individual and is the common platform for personal and business success.


What role and impact does high expectation play within the dynamics of a start-up company?


Firstly the expectations of the leader and themselves often are very often different to the people that surround them. The expectations held by the team are also very different what they expect from their leader.


My team has extremely high expectations of each other, likewise I have of them. At Job Capital, ability to grasp ideas, problem solve and work to solution is an exceptionally high and a very strong part of the culture of expectation.


The team players rely on each other for honestly, reliability, delivery and general respect for each other. Along with this, the team has personal expectations of themselves. Financial goals, learning, market presence, personal brand and ability to succeed in the industry. All at a high level.


Likewise the team expects great things of me as their leader. They expect vision, reliability, learning and development, a safe environment and assurance they are doing a great job when they achieve their goals. And of course, they expect to be rewarded accordingly.


So what does all this mean? It means you have to know where the benchmarks are. What the triggers are in each and every person that is in your army.


Where their boundaries are, what frustrates them, what triggers amazing performance and what they expect from the leader. What differentiates each person and their ability and skills is only limited by how much you expect and drive an environment to surpass even high expectations.


I believe it is in this zone where amazing things are possible and achievable and where you truly scratch the surface of capability and potential.


I push the boundaries daily with our team. I push them to think and do things they have never been asked before. I ask them to do things they previously thought they didn’t have the confidence or ability to achieve. And I push them pretty hard! In a nice way of course! We are in this zone more often than we are not.


So the outcome is the output. It’s purpose, it’s ensuring that each person can go home at the end of every week and confidently say, “I learnt something new or I achieved a personal best this week at work”.


Of course, many mistakes are made, much resistance to some things occur and often a few errors and maybe even a bit of fire. But along the way and depending on time, feedback is given immediately or after the fact.


There is always a debrief, mostly informal and fast and based on an outcome. Especially the great outcomes. How better to collaborate and share new experiences than that of success?


I doubt my self expectations will ever be lowered, I think it’s in your DNA somehow. In fact, I totally enjoy pushing new personal boundaries and seeing where the new limits (if any) exist.


I know the expectations of my team will be lowered. Natural selection in the workplace ensures a very high standard is maintained.


I’ve learnt that this has to be a two way street. I have done many new things driven though the expectation of the team. They have taught me many lessons directly and indirectly. It is very humbling when you receive these lessons. I embrace them.


What I know for certain is that when the team expected of me four years ago when we launched is very different and very much higher than what the team expects today; and I am very happy about that. High expectations have equaled high business and personal growth; where is the downside in that?

Jo Burston is the founder of Job Capital, a company that manages the financial affairs of contractors. The business was named the Officeworks Fastest Growing Start-up at the 2011 StartupSmart Awards.

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