High expectations

Bob is having problems with some of his team, whose work he feels is not good enough.

We ask him to pick up the horse’s hoof. This is something that horse owners do most days when they groom their horses, to check that the hoof is healthy and to pick out any small stones that may be lodged there. We know this can be a challenge for non-equestrians – horses are big and powerful, and can deliver painful feedback by way of a swift kick. So, we show Bill how to keep himself safe – stand at the side of the horse next to the leg you are going to pick up, always looking towards the tail end; for a front leg, run the hand closest to the horse gently down the back of the leg and support the hoof when the horse lifts it; for a back leg, run your hand down the front of the leg.

He does what he is instructed, but when the horse puts its foot back on the floor, Bill immediately asks him to lift it again. When asked why he did this, he replies: “Because it wasn’t good enough the first time”.

As he is saying the words, he realises that this is what he is doing with his team. The job they are doing is perfectly acceptable to their clients – but not good enough for the unnecessarily high standards he is setting. The insight enables him to change his expectations and resolve the problems he has been creating with his team.

Contributor: Andrew McFarlane

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