Chapter 5Expectations and Leadership

Very simply put, you need to expect to win every day. It's critical to define winning as not only doing well professionally but also touching people's lives. Expecting to win at least puts the probability of doing so on your side. There are no guarantees, but if you don't expect to win, you have negative expectations, making the probability that you will do well virtually zero.

Before we really discuss the topic of expectations, I think it's important to define winning. Too often we attach the concept of winning only to those people who lead the team in sales, those people who at the end of the year are given awards for being the best. In sport we talk about winning as the team that has more runs, more touchdowns, or more points.

In the context of expectations, I would like you to define winning as executing the process well. As we discussed in the last chapter on goal setting, all you can do is ensure that you perform well; winning is basically out of your control.

Recently I worked with a pitcher who was bothered by his record, even though at the end of the year he had the best numbers of his career. His record was 0.500, but in his mind, he did not pitch very well. We sat and talked about the fact that once you throw a pitch, you don't control what happens afterward. You don't control the outcome, but you can control how well you execute. The rest usually takes care of itself.

The same principle holds true in business. If you're a leader ...

Get Commonsense Leadership now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.