Strong beliefs are dangerous

Expectations, beliefs, prejudices - effect on change requests

Everyone has expectations. To yourself and to others. We are curious about our future. Suppositions, assumptions, hopes or dreams are superficially considered expectations. They are usually based on the past and our experiences.

We all tend to develop an idea from our experiences of what ultimately arouses a certain expectation. This can be positive or negative. One thing is certain: expectations restrict us.


Living without expectations - is it feasible?

This question has been at the heart of studies and discussions by psychologists. There is no definitive answer. The human psyche is too multifaceted.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

It is important to approach any situation with an open mind and with an open mind. But, our expectations influence our behavior (if we are usually not aware of this) and other people react to them. This can be particularly dangerous in connection with the “Self-fulfilling Prophecy”. Your own expectation, your own way of dealing with things then causes the other person to behave in the way that we expect.

Prejudice - a vicious circle

Prejudices, which have a strong influence, are even worse. The influenced person only perceives the characteristics of the other person / thing that fit into the expected picture. The "confirmation" increases the prejudice. A vicious circle.

Expectation vs. Visual Perception

Already around 20 years ago, scientists made important findings about the interaction between deep perception, object recognition and visual processing in the brain. A high level of expectations has a significant impact on our visual systems.

This means: Our inner expectations influence the basic perception of people. For example, people with corresponding expectations - here fears - see dangerous objects and people in the dark. However, these are not there at all.

Motivation and decision

Expectation is one of the most important cognitive concepts and plays a central role in motivational and decision theories. This area also includes the rewards. Animals also include any rewards in their decisions. They combine previous experiences with expectations for the future. Where this can lead to people is easy to see from the current bonus compensations for managers.

Imagination and Reality - No difference to the brain

According to brain research, the human brain cannot differentiate between imagination and reality. This means that as soon as we imagine something very realistically, it is one and the same for our brain. The reaction can be corresponding. And we're always talking about an effect on a sane person.

If we truly expect it, we enormously increase the likelihood that it will happen that way. We automatically move towards an assumption when the inner expectation and belief are there.

Conviction - Critical Point

Conviction, in particular, is a critical point. Without this, the effect is rather modest, because conviction is the source of a possibility. Psychologists like to refer to "positive thinking". But the human psyche cannot simply be duped.

If a person tries to approach something in a positive way, but he lacks the inner conviction, this attempt is largely unsuccessful. Conviction makes all the difference. If we take it for real, it lives in us and we may pass it on.

Real conviction arises from an inner acceptance sparked by one's own drive. Without coercion and manipulative influence from third parties or yourself.

When expectation and conviction come together, a wonderful team is created. A fragile one, however. Everyone knows the questioning of their own convictions from their own everyday life. Expectations also change very quickly depending on the situation.

What do we do with all this information in connection with change projects?

Nowadays, anyone in this country can access the information they want around the clock if necessary. This has advantages, but one major disadvantage. What is found arouses expectations. As we all know, texts on the Internet are often embellished and promise great success. A high rate of disappointment cannot be ruled out.

Those people who commission a change inform themselves in advance about the possible results and successes. The first expectations arise. Even if the decision-makers pass the processing on to other bodies, the same effect arises.

Realistic expectations are (too) often lacking

If a person is entrusted with the change, they often find that the client has at least partially unrealistic expectations. Mostly in terms of cost and time. These are the lesser evils. It becomes more difficult as soon as the day-to-day successes of well-known companies such as Toyota are to be transferred to the company. In between is a huge space with expectations of all kinds.

Who has expectations of changes?

List (not exhaustive):

  • Client
  • owner
  • Board of Directors
  • Management
  • CEO
  • management
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Delivery
  • Authorities
  • Authorized person
  • Competitors

Analysis creates clarity

All of these stakeholders have their own expectations of the mandate, implementation, goals and success of the planned change. In some way these expectations should be collected, ordered, and evaluated. It does not matter whether this is done in the classic way with a stakeholder analysis or simply on a piece of paper.

No analysis - danger looms

As described above, expectations that have not been discussed can lead to a great deal of chaos and destruction in a change project. At least in the worse cases. The time spent on an analysis, the comparison with reality and the associated discussions are definitely worth it. If this step is neglected, it usually takes revenge at a later point in time.

Do not forget

Expectations shift and change as they change. To ensure that the difficulties initially averted do not arise in the middle of the project / process, the most important thing is to regularly check and adjust the expectations of all parties. It is of the utmost importance to give expectations such a priority. The procedure or methodology chosen for the change (almost) no longer plays a role afterwards.