The Importance of Not Just Meeting, but Exceeding Expectations

I am attending an industry conference this week. It’s a big, annual meeting of industry executives and we are getting updates on all the things the presenting organizations do for their members. Membership with these organizations is not a small investment and the cost to send people to this conference is also not a small investment.

So there is an implied expectation that the information presented will be professional, thorough, concise and informative. One allied organization that was presenting did not meet those expectations. Slides were washed out, illegible and not formatted properly. In addition, one of the speakers was awkward in her humor and for another presenter, information he cited to refute research contrary to the organization’s interests was not convincing.

The chatter after the meeting was not about all the great things being done by all the organizations presenting; rather, it was about how poorly this one session went. On reflection, it is interesting that when expectations are met, it is not news. When they are not met, it becomes the focus.

So simplistically, there are three conditions that can be met: exceed expectations, meet expectations, or fall below expectations. In order to move forward, you always need to exceed expectations. 

A colleague of mine likes to use the Cajun word “lagniappe” to describe the concept of “a little something extra.” It is what anchors the experience as a positive one. The concept here is interesting in contrast to the above-mentioned failure to meet expectations. 

So today, let’s try to put a little lagniappe into what we are doing. Exceed some expectations and let our customers know we are grateful for the opportunity to meet their expectations.


“Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations.”

Ralph Charell


“Let us be about setting high standards for life, love, creativity, and wisdom. If our expectations in these areas are low, we are not likely to experience wellness. Setting high standards makes every day and every decade worth looking forward to.”

Greg Anderson