3 things you should know about exceeding expectations

1 Just perfect?
To appear competent you have to live up to expectations. To be regarded as promising you must exceed them. This can be a daunting scenario, as each time you exceed expectations you raise the stakes for next time and begin constructing a spiral to insanity. Get as close to being perfect as you can and anything you do that’s just very, very good could disappoint. That’s not to say you should hide your ability and potential, but you must think sustainable.

2 Manage people
The secret of continuing to give satisfaction is understanding and managing the expectations of others. Those who are always pleasant, efficient and punctual encourage others to expect that. At the other end of the spectrum are the lucky few who get away with being mostly brusque and careless. They convince the world their sporadic charm and competence is worth waiting for and only have to be polite or do something average to delight all.

3 Impact analysis
The only practical way to create a sustainable illusion of being consistently outstanding while preserving your sanity, is to regularly practise subtle expectation lowering. Maintain impact and credibility by saving your flashes of brilliance for the really important tasks, bearing in mind that routine duties sometimes go unrewarded. You are responsible for creating the expectations others have of you. Make sure those can be achieved comfortably while leaving room for occasional excess.