Today’s Mindful Monday post has me fighting depression on many levels. Yesterday was the first anniversary of a very sad day — the saddest — and so that’s certainly a major part of it. But it’s also magnifying the usual professional disappointments that are fairly normal in business, and it reminds me of the importance of keeping your expectations aligned.

When we experience disappointment, our hopes and expectations are out of line with reality.[i] It can lead us to dangerous swings of being angry with ourselves or with others. These were times when conversations with my brother Jim helped keep me centered, and this morning I’m missing him more than ever.

But I think I know what’d he’d say, at least about professional disappointments.

He’d say something like “hey, this is just business…you know who your real family is…” or “what did you think was going to happen?” and, “so, what now? Get back to work! The weekend’s over!

It reminds me of something I’ve learned about the process improvement space and should not have forgotten. Many ‘new and improved ideas’ are really history lessons.

Even Deming spent a great deal of time copying Shewart’s ideas and devising ways to present them in his own way. Students of continuous improvement are therefore students of history to some degree.

What’s different with the ‘nature of the beast’ today is the speed and ease of which improvements to proven techniques can be duplicated — and monetized — by the community. Food for thought as you race along the digital turning point and its related disruption.

Rolling Uphill, The Nature of the Beast

I am drawn to the USM method precisely because it is a new way of thinking. While it draws from the past, it is definitively NOT the same repackaging of what we’ve talked about for decades.

For example, years ago I was also drawn to the Customer Expectation Management Method (which is another ‘nature of the beast’ story). This was also about managing expectations.

“Creating a product that is different from competitive offerings — but that doesn’t add value to the customer — won’t produce success. The product value proposition and customer expectation are one and the same.[ii]

A Pocket Guide to CEMM

USM’s discussion on SERVQUAL, specification and realization of services is also very much about expectations.

Errors (gaps) in the creation of services [USM method]

The quality experience of the customer is mainly based on expectations, which arise from the communication with the provider.

Unified Service Management, An Introduction to the USM Method

So, I’ll have another cup of tea and realize that some Mondays are harder than others, but the good news is, like every day…

…the sun will come out tomorrow

[i] Harvard Business Review, Dealing with Disappointment

[ii] Establishing a Business Lane for your ITIL Road Map – A Pocket Guide to CEMM for ITIL©

Published by myservicemonitor

I am an independent service management consultant with two decades of experience helping customers.

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