Creating a High Performance Culture
In 1968 the work of two pyschologists Rosenthal and Jacobsen studied the effects of tutor expectations on the performance of their students.
They took intelligence pre-tests with the children and then told teachers the names of twenty percent of them who were showing "unusual potential for inellectual growth" and predicted they would bloom with the academic year.
They then sat back and watched what was to unfold.
Unknown to the teachers these children were randomly selected with no relation to the intelligence test. Eight months later they re-tested the children and the results showed that the randomly selected children who the teachers thought would bloom scored significantly higher.
They called this the "Pygmalion Effect".
The results from this study (and since there have been hundreds of studies done in this same area) showed that positive expectations of others influence performance positively and negative expectations do the opposite.
“When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur.” (Rosenthal and Babad, 1985)
You may have noticed this effect taking place on yourself when you think back to being in school or more relevantly in your professional life if you have ever worked for a boss who has believed in you and your ability and as a result you stepped up to meet their expectations.
The message is simple. Be careful what you expect from others and be careful what others expect from you. Have a look around and notice if it is having a positive or negative effect. Building a high performance culture is almost impossible if the expecations are not positive.