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Reblogged:Lucas on Setting New Expectations

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A manager asks "Evil HR Lady" Suzanne Lucas how to remedy a tardiness problem in his office. Her reply, which she essentializes as, "Make them believe you," is applicable in many situations, and is worth thinking about for that reason:

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[P]resent the employee with two printed copies of the new policy, and ask them to sign both. Keep one for your files, and send the other one home with them.

They will not like this. Not one bit. Someone will likely test you out, and here's the critical part: You must follow through. You need to give them the unpaid suspension day, and you might need to fire an employee who pushes a third day, so start searching for new employees before you embark on this process. If you do not do this, your problem will continue because your employees won't believe you. [bold added]
Granted, firing isn't always an option, but the basic advice is very good and memorably put. For example, as a parent, you should make sure your kids will believe it when you offer a potential reward or punishment. Conversely, don't make an offer or a threat you can't back up. I have found that, unlike other parents I know, I can take my kids to a store and leave with just what I came to get simply by setting expectations beforehand. (For example: We're here to get something Mom needs for her trip, and that's it.)

Lest you think I'm sore from slapping myself on the back, be aware that the real value of the piece for me was that Lucas shows how to create belief in a situation where one doesn't have it for whatever reason. In my case, I've not made keeping the house tidy a priority and I plan to change it now that my son is old enough to understand picking up a mess. I'll clearly need my own version of laying down the law there. Yes, it's helpful to know that my habit of setting expectations and sticking to them is good, once established. But Lucas also helped me see that my intuition is good: I was going to keep mostly quiet about the issue until I knew in more detail what I want and what incentives and punishments I would use.

-- CAV

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This woman is handing out terrible advice. Short of a situation where safety is at stake, insisting on employees being on time every single day, without exception, causes unnecessary conflict (and stress and resentment, which leads to poor job performance).

If they evaluated and rewarded their employees based on their overall level of commitment to the job, instead of setting up inflexible rules for them to follow, they would have a more productive business and happier clients.

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