Category Archives: Business and Organizations

Target Canada closing – the result of mismanaged expectations.

Are you over the shock yet?

You know what I’m talking about. Target Canada announced early this morning they were closing all 133 Canadian locations and pulling out – lock, stock and barrel. After less than two years! What seemed a sure thing has quickly crumbled to the point of being what is described as “an epic failure.” It is sure to be one that will be studied in marketing and merchandising courses for years to come.target1

So, what happened? I’m not qualified to give an expert view from either the marketing or consumer side, but as far as expectations go, it is a fairly simple analysis. They did not meet expectations. Not those of the company, nor those of the consumer. They quite simply did not manage the expectations set before them.

Those interviewed outside stores today repeated the critique that the service and satisfaction that was delivered in U.S. stores, and experienced in cross-border shopping, never materialized. Experts in the field of consumer merchandising noted that their price point consistently paled beside WalMart’s. And their stores were frequently lacking in products, with empty shelves promising to be refilled, but left vacant for weeks. The customers just moved on to the stores that had the stuff they were looking for.

Perhaps the most damning comment came from an insider who sought to remain anonymous in the interview he gave today. He said that Target, who largely took over Zellers stores, were given free access to that company’s marketing figures. But they ignored them, thinking they were irrelevant to what they were about to do. This was seen as both arrogant and foolish. It ultimately led to expectations that were entirely unrealistic for bringing Target into a whole different culture. And this is the result.

I said it in my last blogpost, and I repeat it now with this stark example before us:

Knowing this material in itself is never enough. We still have to apply it!

I will let those experts in the Canadian economy and the store scene speak with their great knowledge and facts and figures. It will be necessary analysis. But at the end of the day, the real reason is there for us to see. They mismanaged their expectations, and those of their customers. What a shame.

© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2015

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“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press – www.scarletcordpress.com

 

 

 

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It’s not enough to understand expectations, we’ve got to manage them!

Are you managing the expectations in your life?

Stay on courseI find it rewarding to speak and teach on the subject of expectations. But nothing compares with hearing how the application of that understanding has helped someone in their life. They now have a grip on the importance of managing their expectations.

This morning I spoke with a woman who attended a seminar and bought the book over a year ago. She was excited to share how it has helped her. She was so enthusiastic, I wanted to interview her on the spot. I hope to do a video interview with her in the days to come, but her testimonial of the benefits of the book was immensely gratifying.

Her words continue to ring in my ears: “Your book has revolutionized the way I manage my life. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t ask the question of myself and others: What do we expect here? I’ve learned to manage my expectations.”

When I wrote “What do you expect?” it was first and foremost for my own benefit. It helped to solidify in my own thought and understanding what I had been working on for many years. By putting this in book form, I was able to appreciate not only the big picture of expectations, but also the subtle nuances needed to be grasped in many situations. This in turn has enabled me to help more people through speaking, teaching, training and consulting using this material.

The bottom line remains the same:  Knowing this material in itself is never enough. We still have to apply it!

Are you applying that simple question? If so,  how is it helping you?  I’d love to hear your story, as well.

© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2015

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“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press – www.scarletcordpress.com

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Are you vocalizing what you expect?

Lauren had come to her final day on the job, and she was fidgeting in her chair. “Should I tell her,” she wondered. She was sitting in her bosses’ office, being given the standard exit interview for summer interns at Reid-Davis. Maureen O’Connell was assistant to the chief purchasing agent, and Lauren’s boss for the summer. As a matter of courtesy, she asked if there was anything else she wanted to share as she finished her time with the company.

“Yes, well, the summer’s been great working here. So thanks. But, well, to tell the truth, I thought we might have worked more closely together.”

There, she’d said it. Now what?

The comment caught Maureen off guard, but she regrouped quickly and replied, “Yes, well I’m sorry for that. However, that was not the plan we laid out for you when we brought you here in May. And frankly, I’m wondering why you never shared that expectation with me? Especially if that was important to you.”

Lauren felt sheepish now. “Yeah, I guess I can’t expect you to read my mind, can I? It’s just that you did say I have great potential. And I saw how you worked with Ella. I really want to be doing what you are doing after I graduate. I guess I just thought you might want to work more with me, that’s all.”

Sound familiar?

Maureen only finds out about Lauren’s expectations after the window of opportunity has past. Why? Very simply, it was not shared when it could have made a difference. This is what we call “vocalizing”, speaking out clearly and understandably what we expect. As a result, the opportunity is missed, an employee leaves disappointed and a supervisor is frustrated. “If only she had shared that with me earlier.”

What expectations are you not vocalizing? What would happen if you shared the expectation you are holding back on sharing?

Next time: Why we don’t vocalize our expectations.

© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014

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“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press – http://www.scarletcordpress.com

 

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Analyzing my expectations means determining how realistic they are.

In my last blog, we looked at the first action in managing expectations, which was realizing what they are. This is done by asking the question: What do I (or what do we) expect? It is a necessary beginning, but it really only sets the stage for what comes next; analyzing if our expectations are realistic.

The question I am asked the most often is: “How do I know if my expectations are realistic?” The fact of the matter is that no one but you can make that analysis. In my book, What do you expect?, I have explained the three areas where most of our expectations come from. These are our past, including our experiences, family traditions, ethnic customs and so on. Second, they come from our desires, the way we want things to work out. And thirdly, they come from listening to what others say, especially those we trust or those who have an influence in our lives.

While one or more of these is usually at the root of what we expect, none of them can guarantee we will get what we expect. Why is that? Simply put, it is because there is no agreement given by anyone to us which gives us that guarantee. Now we realize that even if there is a guarantee, the expectation still may not come to pass. The friend who promises to meet us at noon may be late, the parcel may not be delivered that day, our car may not be repaired at the time promised. Stuff happens. But when we are analyzing how realistic our expectations are, we trust there is a far greater chance of it happening if there is an agreement behind the expectations.

Take a few minutes and analyze something you are expecting. Ask the question, “Why am I expecting this?” Is it because it has always happened that way, or because that’s what I hope will happen? Or because someone said it might happen?  How realistic is your expectation?

© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014

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“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press.

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December 1, 2014 · 9:23 am

Managing our expectations begins with realizing what they are.

man-with-glasses-frame-fitting

I compare realizing our expectations to wearing eyeglasses. Most of the time I’m unaware I’m wearing my glasses. (Unless they are as cloudy and in need of cleaning as they are right now!) They are simply the way I see the world. It’s the same with my expectations. I may not be aware of them, but they are the filter through which I watch my world.

In order to manage our expectations, we need to realize exactly what they are.  How do we do that?

  • We realize our expectations by taking the time to think carefully about what it is we want.
  • We realize our expectations by using anger as our “expectation alarm”, a signal that tells us we are upset about something. We need to stop and recognize what we are angry about and exactly what we are not getting that we want.
  • We realize our expectations by talking the matter out with someone who can help us get to the root of what those expectations are. This might be the person we are expecting something from. It might be a friend who knows us well. It may be a counsellor who is skilled at helping us uncover what it is we really want.
  • We realize our expectations by being honest – with ourselves and with others – about what it is we truly desire.

While we may assume realizing our expectations is a simple and obvious process, this may not be the case. It can be difficult to be that specific and open about what we want. To be so specific may mean we admit something about ourselves we want to keep private. To be so open may be embarrassing to us.

In practice, it is not always easy to fulfill this first action of our process. But if we are to manage our expectations in a healthy and effective way, it is a very necessary step to take.

Question: What am I currently expecting that is affecting a relationship I am in? How specific can I be about that expectation? Am I willing to share that expectation with this other person?

© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014

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“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press.

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