TITLE: First, Be Careful What You Teach People To Expect AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: October 04, 2016 3:40 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Last month, Seth Godin posted a short entry about reputation. It brought back memories of my first couple of years as department head. I was excited and wanted to do a good job, so I took on a lot. Pretty soon I was in a position of having promised more than I could deliver. Some of the shortfall resulted from the heavy load itself; there are only so many hours in a week. Some resulted from promising things I couldn't deliver, because I didn't understand the external constraints I faced. When you don't deliver, explanations sound like excuses. If I were giving advice to myself at the time I became head (already an adult who should have known better...), I would tell him to heed Godin's advice and help people learn what they can expect from you. Explicit attention to expectations can pay off in seeding reputation but also by setting parameters for yourself. Then live up to that standard. If you teach people to expect little, perhaps unintentionally, they will -- even on the occasions when you do better. And after you get better, if you do, it takes a long time to undo the expectations you created early on. Live the life you've taught people to expect from you -- but first be careful what you teach them to expect. -----