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UNMET BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS
Have you ever been upset because of unmet business expectations? A business partner, customer, supplier or maybe an employee has let you down?
I know I have.
And according to my next guest, Ben Winter, we could be thinking about expectations all wrong.
What You’ll Discover About Unmet Business Expectations (highlights & transcript):
- Why we’re thinking about unmet business expectations wrong [03:01]
- The flowchart that offers a path to untangling our unmet business expectations [04:55]
- Why Ben’s flowchart offers a logical process for an emotional problem [07:01]
- Understanding where your expectations come from [08:00]
- The key to managing unmet business expectations [10:07]
- Why unmet business expectations persist [12:05]
- How to think about resolving unmet business expectations [13:25]
- How anger over unmet business expectations presents a personal growth opportunity [16:32]
- And MUCH more.
Hanna Hasl-Kelchner: [00:00:00] Have you ever been upset because of business expectation hasn’t been met? A business partner, customer, supplier or maybe an employee has let you down? I know I have. And according to my next guest, Ben Winter, we could be thinking about expectations all wrong.
Announcer: [00:00:18] This is Business Confidential Now with Hanna Hasl-Kelchner helping you see business issues hiding in plain view that matters to your bottom line.
Hanna: [00:00:30] Welcome to Business Confidential Now, I’m your host, Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, and today’s guest, Mr. Ben Winter, brings an interesting perspective to the whole notion of expectations. Ben is a serial entrepreneur who owns several businesses and is also the author of the book, What to Expect When Having Expectations: Using the Anger of Unmet Expectations to Find Peace. Now Ben has an adventurous streak. He’s solo piloted a plane, been scuba diving in the Galapagos, has seen the animals of Tanzania and traveled all over Europe with a six-month-old child in tow. Now, that’s an impressive list. And to top it all off, he’s acted in several plays, been in a movie and performed improv for over a decade. So this is going to be interesting, my friends. And with that, welcome to Business Confidential Now Ben.
Ben Winter: [00:01:23] Thanks for having me.
Hanna: [00:01:24] Well, this is an exciting topic because zeroing in on this concept of expectations I think is really fascinating. What led you to focus on that and write a book about it?
DISCOVERING UNMET BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS THROUGH IMPROV
Ben: [00:01:36] So it kind of started out with my improv training. One of the things that I do on a regular basis is I teach team building and other things was using improv. And one of the rules of improv really just started to imply this piece around expectations. And I kept saying that the only reason anyone gets upset is because an expectation hasn’t been met. And I really just started to explore that. And in the process, I was like, okay, well, great, I’m upset because of an expectation, but what do I do with that?
Ben: [00:02:09] And I came up with this really cool flowchart. That kind of dives into what the expectations are, where they come from and really what to do with them once you realize you’re upset. So being upset is totally cool in my mind, because that’s that trigger point where you can actually take a step back, analyze it, look at it from a different perspective, not emotionally, but mentally and really just kind of dive into where it’s coming from and what I can, what you can do, what I can do with that upset moment. And it’s a great opportunity for growth. It’s a great opportunity to take that step back and do something productive and from there as well. And then from there, I was like, well, I should probably write a book about it. So there I did.
WHY WE’RE THINKING ABOUT UNMET BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS WRONG
Hanna: [00:03:01] Well, I’d like to explore this concept of a flowchart, but before going there, maybe this is the segue, I don’t know, you tell me, why do you believe most of us are thinking about expectations in the wrong way?
Ben: [00:03:13] A lot of the feedback that I get when I ask people about expectations is they say something like “it’s future resentment waiting to happen,” or “you have to set your expectations low so you’re not going to be disappointed,” or the best one, “I don’t have expectations because then I can’t get upset.” Which, oddly enough, is an expectation in and of itself.
Ben: [00:03:35] So the reason I think people look at it incorrectly is that they think of them as a negative thing. Expectations are a thing. You know, we all expect to wake up in the morning when we go to bed at night. It’s not negative. That’s just an expectation that we have. And the reason that it has that negative connotation is because we only recognize the expectation when we’re upset about it not being met, not coming to fruition. So that’s where the negative connotation of expectations comes in. Expectations are a great thing. And I think if people look at them differently, they’re going to see them as a great tool, will help us think about it as a great tool, because, you know, yeah, we have expectations.
Hanna: [00:04:20] And when they’re not met, and so I guess part of the question is, are they realistic or not? So help us think about it in a healthier way, because nobody likes to get angry. But it happens. It happens. So help me out here.
Ben: [00:04:35] Yeah. So I think you have the flowchart available for your listeners.
Hanna: [00:04:41] Yes. It’s going to be. . .
Ben: [00:04:42] One of the biggest pieces. . .
Hanna: [00:04:44] It’s going to be on the Web site with your episode page. So come on over to BusinessConfidentialRadio.com and you’ll see it on Ben Winters’ episode page for download. Please continue.
The Flowchart: A Path to Untangling Unmet Business Expectations
Ben: [00:04:55] Yeah, sure. So the starting point of the flowchart is, hey, you’re upset. And that’s why I say being upset is a great thing because it’s an opportunity to grow. And moving through that flowchart. There is a question. It’s pretty much dead center in the flowchart. And so is your expectation reasonable? And a lot of the times we’re upset about an expectation we didn’t even know we had to begin with. And so if you didn’t even know you had the expectation, how can you possibly be upset with yourself, with someone else? Because you didn’t even know you had the expectation. They didn’t know they had the expectation.
Ben: [00:05:32] You know, it’s kind of like that opportunity when you’re upset to really explore: am I communicating effectively? Have I shared my expectations with others? Have I even sat down with myself and put my expectation on my calendar so that I know how to do it? And that’s kind of the beautiful thing about the flowchart, is that it guides you through that stuff of is your expectation reasonable.
Ben: [00:05:55] And my biggest one is traffic. I mean, I hate traffic. I, I yell at traffic all the time and I immediately stop myself every time because I know it’s not a reasonable expectation to be upset with traffic. It makes no sense. I am completely unable to talk to everybody else on the road and talk about how we should all be driving and even then we’re not going to agree on how to drive. So it’s a completely unreasonable expectation. And as soon as I realized that I stopped getting upset, I go on with my day.
Hanna: [00:06:28] Well, see Ben, you’re being infinitely rational. You know, I mean there’s some people out there go, no, I want what I want. And that’s what I want, period. And I’m pissed when I don’t get what I want. So how do you help them to just sort of like, OK, let’s let’s take a sip of decaf because you’re way up there. How do you get that to, you know, be able to focus on your flow chart? Because what you’re saying makes perfect sense. But what we’re so wrapped up in the moment, it’s kind of hard to, you know, hit neutral.
A MENTAL PROCESS FOR AN EMOTIONAL PROBLEM
Ben: [00:07:01] It is. And it’s simply a game of practice. You have to practice it on a regular basis. I believe Einstein said that you can’t solve the same problem or a problem at the same level it was created. And one interpretation of that is you can’t solve an emotional problem emotionally. Being upset is an emotional issue.
Ben: [00:07:21] So if you can solve it mentally with something like a flowchart or, a lot of people will, they’ll go work out to get over being upset. They’ll go on a walk, they’ll do something physical and some people will be upset and they’ll go do something spiritually, just, or meditate, something that really just kind of is opposite of emotion. And so I’ve just created a simple flowchart, which is a mental process for an emotional problem. That’s the only way I can say, like, here’s your rational way of dealing with it. But again, it’s a tool that you have to use over and over and over. And unless you use it, it’s not going to work.
WHERE EXPECTATIONS COME FROM
Hanna: [00:08:00] So where do our expectations come from? What about norms? What about, you know, how we grew up? Like what’s polite, what’s not polite, because norms are changing these days.
Ben: [00:08:12] Absolutely. And I think you hit it right on the head. It’s that’s how we grow up. A lot of our expectations come from how we’re raise, how our parents treat us, how our parents treat others, how we view the world through our parents’ eyes. And I look at my son and I’d say the majority, he’s 11 now, I’d say up to this point, prior to school for five years, he was around his mother and me, and that’s his world. That’s what he learned for five years. How I treat the world, how his mom treats the world. And so that’s where a lot of his expectations of how things are come from in personal growth. We learn that as like, hey, these are your programs. This is how you run your life. And there’s lots of different words for it. But it all stems from our childhood.
Ben: [00:09:03] When we start getting into school, we learn from our friends and we learn what works with our friends. And oddly enough, things that happen when you’re seven with your friends, that work don’t work when you’re 30. Talking with your friends, you know, kids are great at just walking up, hey do you want to be friends? Great. Let’s go play on the swing set. Now, you walk up to somebody, say, hey, you want to be friends and go to the bar. And they’re like, time to go back to the psycho ward man, ‘common.
Ben: [00:09:29] You know, we’re just not as open these days. Programs are just a strange thing that go with us through our life. And it’s the way we look at the world. And expectations are just a massive part of that. And we can, we just can’t avoid. It’s just a matter we really just have to take a step back and explore them when they go on and say, where did this even come from? One of the pieces on the flowchart is, did you know you had the expectation? And if the answer is no, it says explore that. And that can take people days, weeks, months, years to explore where that expectation came from.
THE KEY TO MANAGING UNMET BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS
Hanna: [00:10:07] Well, I think in the business world, especially when you have so many different generations in the workforce, at the same time, there can be lots of expectations that don’t exactly dovetail. Any recommendations for how a business owner, you’ve had a business, you’ve had several, how best to deal with that, how to manage those expectations. What advice do you have?
Ben: [00:10:30] At the end of the day, it comes down to communication, to talking, to sharing those expectations and negotiating those expectations. And it requires leadership at the top who I want to say enforce, but to inspire people to communicate with one another. And I think if you didn’t even know you had the expectation and you can’t expect other people to follow through on that, and that’s where you have to take that step back and say, hey, I’m sorry, I’m upset I didn’t communicate with you on what I wanted or how I wanted it or when I wanted it. And let’s take a step back and talk. And that’s what it’s going to take.
Ben: [00:11:12] And in business, a business owner has more expectations than you can possibly imagine because they want to be super successful. They want it to work. They don’t want to be wrong about what they’ve done. And in my first job out of college, I worked for two owners. I was like the only employee and I wanted an eight to five job because that’s what I thought I was supposed to have. And they were business owners where they’re working twenty hours a day, they’re doing it until the job’s done. They’re out there making it work. We had completely different expectations of what was of what they wanted for me and what I wanted to give. And we never talked about it. And so it ultimately never worked out. So hopefully they kind of figured out, hey, we need to communicate with our employees better and maybe they have employees that are great. I don’t know.
WHY UNMET BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS PERSIST
Hanna: [00:12:05] Well, let’s hope so. Let’s hope so. What is it that you think keeps us from doing a better job of communicating or managing expectations? What holds us back? I mean, like you said, expectations are everywhere.
Ben: [00:12:19] Yeah, well, there’s the expectation of what’s going to happen. It’s called fear. It’s just I expect if I share this with somebody else, they’re going to not like me. They’re not going to love me anymore. They’re going to leave me. They’re going to think I’m weak. They’re going to think I’m a bully. You know, whatever it may be, there’s sharing those thoughts with people. And that’s just that’s scary. And take any relationship if you want to tell somebody what you’re thinking and they don’t think the same way it could end that relationship. And that’s a legitimate fear people have. And so they don’t want to jeopardize those things. But what they don’t realize is that by sharing, and talking, and communicating, you actually build stronger relationships.
Hanna: [00:13:07] Is there anything else that holds us back besides fear?
Ben: [00:13:10] Not that I found it. Just fear comes in so many different varieties and flavors that it’s just a different name, same thing.
Hanna: [00:13:20] Same thing, different flavor, huh? All right.
Ben: [00:13:22] Yeah.
HOW TO THINK ABOUT RESOLVING UNMET BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS
Hanna: [00:13:24] OK, well, if you’re a business owner or in a supervisory position and something’s happening, that’s not meeting your expectations, what do you think is a good way to broach the subject?
Ben: [00:13:38] Like with employees that are not meeting
Hanna: [00:13:40] Let’s start with that and then let’s flip it around to say employees needing to talk to their boss.
Ben: [00:13:46] Ok. So when it’s boss to employee, the first step, in my opinion, is that the business owner has to be aware of what has been communicated. OK, they’re upset an employee didn’t do something. We’ve all seen either TV shows or real-life experiences where the boss comes in. They’re yelling at everybody. Nobody has any idea why they’re pissed off, who they’re really pissed off at. And just it’s a negative work environment. Now if that boss had actually taken a moment to kind of explore, hey, why am I what am I doing? Have I communicated everything? Their biggest job is to be the leader and say, hey, I did not communicate well and this is what I’m looking for. I’m not getting it. What can we do as a company? What can we do as individuals? What can I do as the boss to make this work better?
Ben: [00:14:44] The next time when it’s an employee who feels like their expectations aren’t being met by the boss, it becomes a little more tricky because you have to know that you can approach that person and say, hey, can we have a conversation? And honestly, if you’re not working in a place where you don’t feel like you can approach your boss, that’s something to look at all on its own.
Ben: [00:15:06] Or this is that opportunity to approach your boss, share those expectations, have a decent adult conversation, and then you’ll know if you’re working in the right place or not. And it can only be better. It can only get better if you communicate with your boss, because then they know what you want, you know what they want, and you’re able to work through that. And again, if there’s mutual respect, it’s just a much better place to work. And it is tricky. It’s a lot scarier because you don’t want to approach your boss and then get fired. Nobody wants that. But what if you approach your boss and you get a raise? What if you approach your boss and you get to do the types of things in your job that you love? What if things just get better as a result? So there’s the give and take, risks and rewards, and you just kind of have to take that leap of faith because one way or another, it’s going to either work or not work.
Hanna: [00:16:00] And it could either be a slow, painful, like pulling a Band-Aid off very slowly. And it hurts more than just boom doing it. Yeah, what you’re saying is definitely some good advice. Now, your book, What to Expect When Having Expectations: Using the Anger of Unmet Expectations to Find Peace is available through all the major bookstores online and brick and mortar. And I’m just curious, what would be the one thing you’d want a reader to take away from your book?
TRANSFORM YOUR ANGER INTO A PERSONAL GROWTH OPPORTUNITY
Ben: [00:16:32] I think the biggest thing is that it’s OK to be upset because a lot of times people will disregard it. They’ll actually get angry at themselves for being upset, causing themselves to be even more upset. I absolutely love when people get upset, if they’re willing to stop and look at it. It’s a growth opportunity and it’s just a great one if you have something to use at the moment.
Ben: [00:16:57] There’s so much upset in the world right now all across the world, especially here in the United States. And if you can take a moment back and find some peace for yourself and you can find peace for those around you or you can create that environment, they’re like, why are you always so happy? Why are you at peace? You know, what’s working for you? And then they can share their experience. And ultimately it gets back to people just talking again. I think we’ve gotten so far away from just talking to people that nobody understands anyone anymore. That’s kind of frustrating.
Hanna: [00:17:32] I hear you. I hear you people start to stay in their little echo chamber and it just reinforces what they have. And instead of being open to other points of view, whether they agree or not. But just to understand, why do you feel that way? Why do you think that way? You’re right. It’s pretty polarizing right now and a lot of fear in the world, which is why I really appreciate that you took the time to put together this flowchart, which is available on BusinessConfidentialRadio.com Ben Winters episode. There is a download button for that. And I think it’s a roadmap. It helps people sort of figure out.
Hanna: [00:18:10] Now, you may not like some of the questions that are asked because it requires some introspection, but it does cause you to pause and reevaluate how am I thinking about this? And maybe I could do better. Maybe there’s an opportunity for growth. So I thank you for putting that together and for making the link to that download available. Now, Ben, you definitely have a very unique background. Now out of all your adventures and experiences, is there any one thing that stands out as having had a great influence on you in the few minutes that we have left?
HOW IMPROV CHANGED BEN’S LIFE
Ben: [00:18:44] Yeah, I would definitely have to say improv is my big one. When I went to one of my first improv shows at the end of the improv show, they said, hey, we do classes. Are you interested in doing improv? Sign up for classes. And I immediately went to the “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not funny enough, like, there’s no way I can do this.” And it took years, but and actually my ex-wife who said, you know, I’m going to go do an improv class, I said, can I go with you? Because that kind of took away all excuses.
Ben: [00:19:17] So I went to my improv class and first thing that they said was there are rules to improv. If you follow the rules of improv, you’re going to be successful at it. I said, well I can follow rules. But let’s talk about this. And I took the class. I followed the rules. We got on stage for our friends and family at the end of the class, and I absolutely just fell in love with it. I felt so at home and I had never been in that space on stage before. And knowing that no matter what I do on stage right now, I don’t fail. It was just the best feeling in the world. And so I’ve been doing it for over a decade because it’s where I feel the most at home. And so if I can share any piece of that with everyday people so that they don’t even have to get on stage, then I’ve accomplished my purpose on this planet. Short version.
Hanna: [00:20:06] Bravo. Bravo. Because I think we all want a little bit more peace. Being angry, being upset, it takes a lot of energy and it’s exhausting. And that’s energy that could be used for other things, more productive things that can make us feel good and be happy. So, Ben, thank you so much for joining me today. And the book again everyone . . .
Ben: [00:20:26] Absolutely. . .
Hanna: [00:20:27] . . . Is What to Expect When You’re Having Expectations and the link to his flowchart, that very important roadmap: BusinessConfidentialRadio.com. Thank you.
Ben: [00:20:38] Thanks.
Hanna: [00:20:38] That’s our show for today. Thank you for joining me. If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest, you can go to our Web site at BusinessConfidentialRadio.com. It’s got a lot of other powerful information and resources available to help your business grow. So be sure to check that out. The Web site again is BusinessConfidentialRadio.com.
Hanna: [00:21:00] I’m Hanna Hasl-Kelchner. And you’ve been listening to Business Confidential Now. Have a great rest of the day and an even better tomorrow.
Ben Winter is a serial entrepreneur who has owned several businesses and he’s also the author of the book, What to Expect When Having Expectations: Using the Anger of Unmet Expectations to Find Peace.
Ben has an adventurous streak. He has solo-piloted a plane, been scuba diving in the Galapagos, seen the animals of Tanzania and traveled all over Europe with a 6-month-old child in tow.
That’s an impressive list, and to top it all off he’s acted in several plays, been in a movie and performed improv for over a decade.
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