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Optimism at Work Vasudha Deming

goals Optimism at WorkWork­ing in my home office Fri­day evening, I pecked away at the key­board, vaguely aware that I had turned on the tele­vi­sion to pro­vide some back­ground noise as I fin­ished up the week's projects.

All activ­ity came to a stop, how­ever, when the words uttered by a woman in the broad­cast caught my full atten­tion. CBS Evening News was run­ning one of those folksy, upbeat seg­ments that typ­i­cally usher view­ers into a week­end men­tal­ity.  "When you expect the best," said the woman from Ohio, "That's what you're going to receive."

The woman was Jackie Sypherd who runs Sypherd's Cycles in a small town seem­ingly best known for its cit­i­zens' uni­ver­sal trust in peo­ple. (The full story can be viewed here.)  Ms. Sypherd's shop rents out bikes, and cus­tomers are not asked to pro­vide a deposit or leave behind a driver's license. She sim­ply trusts the cus­tomers to return the rentals–always has and pre­sum­ably always will. In 28 years of busi­ness, nobody has ever absconded with a bicycle.

For me, the story was both refresh­ing and famil­iar. Here at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, we develop train­ing that revolves around a cen­tral theme of the HEART Model™–the E in HEART stand­ing for "expect the best."

I've never worked with the bike shop in Ohio (or for that mat­ter CBS Evening News), but I have worked with a num­ber of other organizations–both big and small–that have come to rec­og­nize just how pow­er­ful this mind­set can be.

Man­agers who expect the best from their employ­ees tend to get bet­ter results than those who doubt the poten­tial of their team. Sales reps who expect the best send a sub­tle mes­sage through their atti­tude and behavior–an atti­tude that often con­vinces the cus­tomer to close the deal. Most impor­tantly, per­haps, I've seen time and again how peo­ple who expect the best from them­selves rarely disappoint.

How it works I can't really say. But think of the placebo effect (it's up to 90 per­cent effec­tive). And stud­ies have shown that ath­letes who visu­al­ize a win­ning per­for­mance are far more likely to achieve it than those ath­letes who do not.

I guess it all goes back to the age-old motif of the self-fulfilling prophecy: If you expect a sit­u­a­tion to turn out poorly, you're essen­tially guar­an­tee­ing that it will. Might as well expect the best!

Vasudha leads the Per­for­mance Solu­tions Team at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, reg­u­larly work­ing with lead­ing com­pa­nies to improve per­for­mance of their customer-facing ser­vice, sup­port, and sales teams. She is a lead devel­oper of Impact's suite of train­ing courses and has authored four books, includ­ing the pop­u­lar Big Book of Cus­tomer Ser­vice Train­ing Games, all pub­lished by McGraw-Hill.
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Vasudha Deming
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  • http://www.church-on-the-net.com/CS/members/annmarietyberg.aspx Jere­miah Mcilvenny

    Im not that much of a reader to be hon­est but your sites pretty good, keep it up as I will book­mark ready for my next read

  • Guest

    From what I under­stand, visu­al­iza­tion and pos­i­tive affir­ma­tions con­di­tion the retic­u­lar acti­vat­ing sys­tem, the brain's goal-seeking fil­ter and bridge between the con­scious and sub­con­scious. Essen­tially, the retic­u­lar acti­vat­ing sys­tem can­not dis­tin­guish between 'real' and 'syn­thetic' real­ity; and so prac­tic­ing these 'syn­thetic' visu­al­iza­tions primes the sub­con­scious to seek to recon­struct the 'syn­the­sized' event in 'real' life.






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