Category Archives: Dynamic of Expectations
Enjoy this video from Watts Bar Lake in Tennessee…
The Dynamic of Expectations gives us a framework for understanding community expectations. By viewing citizen expectations as a continuum with “exceeding expectations” on the positive end and “failing to meet expectations” on the negative, the zero point becomes “meeting expectations.” When we meet expectations, it means we have done our job, nothing more and nothing less. This means we are getting no complaints. We have a tendency to think that as long as we are not getting any complaints, things must be going OK. But Zero Complaints is a very poor standard of excellence for a law enforcement agency.
Police officers must learn to exceed citizen expectations by giving them a WOW experience. The problem is that we don’t really know where their expectations are. So, as a professional police officer, you must ground their expectations in reality by telling them what you are going to do, and then doing it. In this way, you control their expectations. In fact we have a term to describe someone who does what they say they are going to do. We say that person has a lot of Integrity, which is the first step in forming trust-based relationships as we outlined in the Relationship Diamond.
And remember the Expectations Maxim:
Unfulfilled Expectations Damage Relationships
But after meeting their expectations, you job is not yet done. Very methodically and systematically, you must go just a little beyond and exceed their expectations. By doing this you will generate a Grateful Spirit which translates into community support for your law enforcement efforts. Failing to meet their expectations, however, gives them an OW Experience. Those hurt and can lead to a Wounded or Bitter Spirit that translates into public criticism and lack of trust. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what is going on in Ferguson and many other places around America. The citizens we are sworn to protect are doubting us, losing faith in us, and worse…
Sheriff Ray Nash
Police Dynamics Institute
Unfulfilled expectations damage relationships. This is a fundamental truth. So as a law enforcement officer entering into a contact with a citizen, you must understand that they have certain expectations about who you are and how you will perform as a police officer. Unfortunately, the citizen’s expectations may be very unrealistic. Therefore, it is up to you to ground their expectations in reality by first telling them what you are going to do, then doing it. It sounds overly simplistic, but it is a powerful principle that we often overlook. Plus we have a word to describe people who do what they say they are going to do. We say they have a lot of integrity, which is the first essential ingredient for building trust and generating public support.
Once you have established control over their expectations, it is up to you to very methodically meet those expectations. Then go one step further and exceed those expectations. I call this a WOW experience. WOW experiences translate into public support. However, if you fail to meet their expectations, that is an OW experience! And those hurt. They siphon trust out of the relationship.
So my challenge to law enforcement officers all over the world when I conduct Police Dynamics training is to avoid giving anyone an OW experience. But try to give someone at least one WOW experience everyday. In that way you will exponentially begin to build public support and confidence in your agency and the law enforcement profession in general.
Many thanks to Perry Piper for serving as my videographer while I was at Lake Tahoe to record this police training video.