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Do You Set Expectations for Your Organization? Here’s Why They’re Not Working

Do You Set Expectations for Your Organization? Here’s Why They’re Not Working


    (Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Garret Kramer, author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life. Garret is the founder and managing partner of Inner Sports, LLC. His revolutionary approach to performance has transformed the careers of professionals athletes and coaches, Olympians, and collegiate players across a multitude of sports. Kramer’s work has been featured on WFAN, ESPN, Fox, and CTV, as well as in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other national publications. For more information on the author visit http://www.garretkramer.com, and you can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.)

    At my daughter’s summer camp, counselors have made a concerted effort over the past several years to eliminate bullying, wayward behavior, and mischief. In fact, the camp owner and management team recently decided to advertise their camp as an environment where meanness has no place. And, as such, this camp season they required all campers and parents to sign a code-of-conduct agreement where twenty-two camper expectations were listed in detail. Sounds reasonable and responsible, yes?

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    Well, regrettably, in spite of their sound intentions, behavior at this camp has not improved — it’s gotten worse. And this summer, several campers were repeatedly disciplined and threatened with expulsion for their unruly actions.

    Indeed, this situation is comparable to what is happening on college campuses across the U.S. Are you aware that underage students are abusing alcohol at alarming rates? It’s true, and the standard university response is to set more stringent expectations and throw more rules at the student population, even though (as guidelines grow) behavior continues to spiral downhill. We see a similar situation in pro sports. Even with increasingly intense player-development strategies, the amount of dysfunctional actions are escalating by the day, both on and off the playing field.

    How much more proof do we need that setting expectations does not inhibit errant behavior?

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    But why is this alarming trend occurring? And if setting stricter standards doesn’t work, what can be done to eliminate hurtful and disruptive conduct?

    The answer, believe it or not, has to do with a person’s free will and inherent functioning — and what happens when these innate attributes are compromised. In setting expectations, leaders are actually pointing people in the direction of (and thus energizing) what they are trying to avoid in the first place. To illustrate, if I tell my son how to behave as he embarks upon his college journey this week, my expectations are likely to clash with his own intuition, resulting in bound-up thinking (the opposite of a clear head) when he finds himself in a sticky situation — his first fraternity party, for example.

    Instead, what camps, schools, teams, leagues, families, and organizations must do is point their charges inward. Teach them that their mind-sets are naturally in flux — from a high feeling state (mood), their choices are automatically fruitful and empowering, but from a low feeling state, if they act, their choices will be desperate and destructive. We must promote and inspire free will by not telling others what is right or wrong, but by encouraging others to act when their state of mind is elevated and, thus, they are viewing life with compassion, love, resilience, and strength. From this perspective, a person’s behavior is always productive, for themselves and those around them.

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    The only way to encourage productive behavior is to point people inward. Expectations point people outward, toward somebody else’s definition of right and wrong.

    The bottom line is that telling others what to do, what to look out for, or what behavior is and is not expected — points them away from their own freedom and instincts. Plus, rather than punishing or disciplining when they don’t fit an organization’s definition of “appropriate” (which only escalates the tension and bewilderment), leaders should be teaching others about what their feelings are trying to tell them. The “off” feeling in their stomachs before the 15-year-old boy campers raided a girls bunk, for instance, was telling them that their thinking was momentarily off course, and they were about to make a big mistake if they proceeded.

    It’s time that we look away from behavior and toward the state of mind that creates the behavior. We’ve put the cart before the horse, and, sadly, our young people are paying an extremely steep price for it. After all, isn’t summer camp supposed to be a place where kids grow, discover, make mistakes, and prosper? Isn’t it a place where free will is supposed to bloom?

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    Author’s note: I am well aware that the preceding point of view is outside the norm. All I ask is that you consider it with an open mind. Our insecurities often tell us that we must set expectations and rules, and discipline accordingly—we should never listen to our insecure thoughts.

    (Photo credit: Overall Performance via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 12, 2019

    20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

    20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

    There is normally a lengthy list of things you need to consider when starting a business, and if you don’t manage them properly, your excitement can quickly turn into overwhelm. What can support you to stay inspired and on the right track when starting out? You guessed it: this is your vision statement.

    What Is a Vision Statement?

    A vision statement is like a photograph of your future business, which gives your business shape and direction.

    A vision statement provides the direction and describes what the founder wants the organization to achieve in the future; it’s more about the “what” of a business. It is different from a mission statement, which describes the purpose of an organization and more about the “how” of a business.

    If you were to take a photo of your future business now, what would it look like? What do you want your business to be recognized for one day?

    You need to have a crystal clear vision when you start out, otherwise you can get easily lost in deciding the best way forward. When you are making strategic decisions for your business and even daily operation decisions, your vision statement will give you the inspiration and targeted direction you need.

    The Importance of a Vision Statement

    Without a vision statement, your business will lack motivation to keep going.

    If you don’t aim for anything, you might not hit anything. The more specific and clear you are, the better your chances are at seeing your vision turn into reality.

    The importance of a vision statement cannot be overlooked; not only does it provide long term direction and guidance, but it also gives you the inspiration and the necessary energy to keep going when you feel lost.

    Always keep your vision statement alive by revisiting it regularly and communicating your vision with other members of the team, to inspire and motivate them as well.

    How to Craft an Inspiring Vision Statement

    1. Dream big and use clear language

    An inspiring vision statement should inform a clear direction and priorities for the organization, while challenging all the team members to grow together. Based on our expert sources’ advice, we’ve got some great tips for you:

    • Imagine how you want the business to be like in five to ten years.
    • Infuse the business’ values in the statement.
    • Make sure that the statement is implying a clear focus for the business.
    • Write your vision statement in the present tense.
    • Use clear and concise language.
    • Ensure the statement is easily understood.

    There are many different types of vision statements and there is no wrong or right way to do it. The most important thing is to resonate with it. It will always inspire you and give you a clear targeted direction.

    2. Get inspirations from the successful companies.

    Having researched on a number of successful companies’ vision statements, I’ve shortlisted 20 good examples for the new startups:

    Short vision statements made up of a few words only:

    1. Disney

    To make people happy.

    2. Oxfam

    A just world without poverty.

    3. Ikea

    To create a better every day life for the many people.

    Quantitative statements are based on numbers, quantities:

    4. Microsoft

    Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

      5. Nike

      Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)

        Qualitative statements are based on qualities that you want to have:

        6. Ford

        People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people’s lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.

        7. Avon

        To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally.

        Competitor based statements – this type is becoming less common, but famous examples are:

        8. Honda – in 1970

        We will destroy Yamaha.

        9. Nike – in 1960s

        Crush Adidas.

          10. Philip Morris – in 1950s

          Knock off RJR as the number one tobacco  company in the world.

          Role Model Vision Statements – using another company as an example:

          11. Stanford University – in the past

          To become the Harvard of the West.

          12. Reach for Success – in the past

          To become the next Tony Robbins in self development.

          Internal Transformations vision statements:

          13. Apple

          To produce high-quality, low cost, easy to use products that incorporate high technology for the individual.

          14. Giro Sport Design

          To make sure that riding is the best part of a great life.

          15. Tesla

          To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

          16. Sony

          To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.

          17. Facebook

          To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

            Longer and more detailed vision statement:

            18. Walmart

            To give customers a wide assortment of their favorite products, Every Day Low Prices, guaranteed satisfaction, friendly service, convenient hours (24 hours, 7 days a week) and a great online shopping experience.

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            19. Coca Cola

            To achieve sustainable growth, we have established a vision with clear goals:

            Profit: Maximizing return to share owners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.

            People: Being a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.

            Portfolio: Bringing to the world a portfolio of beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy peoples; desires and needs.

            Partners: Nurturing a winning network of partners and building mutual loyalty.

            Planet: Being a responsible global citizen that makes a difference.

              20. Heinz

              Our VISION, quite simply, is to be: “The World’s Premier Food Company, Offering Nutritious, Superior Tasting Foods To People Everywhere.” Being the premier food company does not mean being the biggest but it does mean being the best in terms of consumer value, customer service, employee talent, and consistent and predictable growth.

              The Bottom Line

              Remember, always keep your vision statement up-to-date to direct your company’s actions.

              Remember, once you reach your vision, it needs to be changed. General Motors overtook Ford as #1 automotive company in the world because once Ford’s goal was reached, they never updated it.

              Keep your vision statement alive and visibly in front of you, revisit it and let it help direct your actions and activities. This is the fun part: this is where you get to dream really big and allow your imagination to fly as high as you want.

              Don’t hold back, let your creative juices flow and give yourself permission to explore what is possible for your business.

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              To your success!

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