★ Rich Habit #19: Exceeding the Expectations of Others

Rich Habits

managing expectations

This is part of our Rich Habits series, by best-selling author Tom Corley.
Be sure to check out all previous habits we’ve covered!

Successful people seek to exceed the expectations of others in everything they do. Doing so helps build trust and confidence others have in you. It makes others believe in you. As a result, they are more than happy to give you more responsibility, which further leads to increased opportunities.

In order to exceed expectations, successful people have developed the habit of under-promising and over-delivering. They set themselves up for success, even before they take on any challenge. Successful people make it a habit of changing the other person’s perception of reality right out of the gate by reducing their expectations at the beginning of the promise stage.

By reducing expectations this way, they set themselves up to over-deliver, making it easier to get that “wow” at the end.

Unsuccessful people do it backwards. They have a tendency to want to “wow” others at the beginning and not at the end. They make promises right away that exceed the others’ expectations before they even get started.

Unsuccessful people set the bar too high in the beginning, and then fail to meet these high expectations they set for themselves. This results in distrust and a loss of confidence that others have in you. Eventually, responsibilities will be taken away and results in a loss of further opportunity down the road.

In Summary

Successful people exceed the expectations of others by managing the expectations at the very beginning of a project. They make it a habit of under-promising and over-delivering.


Miss any habits? The full list can be found here, and below are the last four:

Tom is a CPA and the author of the best-selling book, “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.” He will be sharing a new habit with us every Thursday as part of our Rich Habits Series, and can be found online at RichHabits.net.

Last modified: April 16, 2017

4 Responses to :
★ Rich Habit #19: Exceeding the Expectations of Others

  1. Agreed! Going above and beyond does reap its own rewards in the long run, too. You’re the go-to person for quality work and people will trust you. Lots of opportunities open up that way. :)

  2. C.J. Cato says:

    I love it. I think we should tell our customers we providea great service,,, and then provide an amazing service

  3. Hmmmmm . . . I get it. But, I’m not so sure this works in every setting. For example, in my world (Education), I don’t think parents want me setting expectations low so that I can over-deliver on student grades. At the same time, students excel when expectations for them are high.

    There’s another angle here as well . . . constantly exceeding expectations + setting high expectations is the perfect recipe for burnout. So I’ve seen it both ways I guess . . . Perhaps it’s more about seeking the right balance between excellence vs. achievement, praise vs. encouragement, work vs. life.

    Thanks for sharing! Good stuff.

  4. Tom Corley says:

    When you set and communicate high expectations of your work product to those who rely on your work product, that, I believe is where you box yourself into the corner. If you deliver, no one cares – they expected it. If you fail – they lose faith in you. Setting and communicating high expectations you have in others (i.e. students) is different. It can drive them to excel in order to meet your expectations. That only works if they respect you as a mentor.

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