There is a saying that says you should under promise and over deliver. I think it is mostly applied to business, and my interpretation has always been that it would be applied something like this in a conversation:
Client: Can you come over and wash my car?
Owner: Yes, we charge $25 for a basic wash.
Client: Okay, how long will it take?
Owner: Usually between 45 minutes and an hour.
Client: Okay, let’s do it.
Owner: comes over, washes the car, details the tires, and waxes the vehicle to showroom quality.
Client: Wow! I never expected you to detail the tires and wax the vehicle to showroom quality. This is amazing.
I have no idea why I chose a mobile car wash business as my example, but the idea is that you give people one set of expectations, and then blow their minds with the value that you actually provide.
I’d like to drop the “under promise” portion of this saying for our purposes. You don’t need to promise, and you certainly don’t need to UNDER promise, but I would encourage you to be an over deliverer (the computer says this isn’t a word, but I’m running with it).
Here is an example: Yesterday I called my dad and asked if I could borrow his truck to take some house trash to the dump that had been our yard since we moved in. We had old window shades, wood scraps, pallets, an old fertilizer spreader and stuff like that. I anticipated just leaving my car with him, and loading up the stuff myself and then returning his truck. He didn’t say anything except sure (he didn’t make me any promises) and came over with his truck. When he got there, he got out his gloves, and helped me load all of the things into his truck, and then we drove to the dump and he helped me unload at the dump. When we got home, he said, why don’t we take a load of yard trash while we are here. We ended up loading up two truck beds full of limbs and leaves that my dad helped rake and load, and then unloaded those at the dump as well. My dad is 66 years old, and while in good shape, doing two hours of strenuous yard work in the heat isn’t generally how he spends his Saturdays. He exceeded every expectation that I had when I asked to borrow his truck.
If you are a player, think about opportunities to over deliver within your team. The coach has expectations for all players in certain situations (in sprints, bench behavior, how you interact with the coach, how you treat teammates) that are kind of baseline expectations. In other words, there is a general expectation for everyone in these and other situations. You can exceed those with your behavior and actions in these moments. But you coach also has expectations specifically for you. Whether intentional or not, your coach has likely formed an opinion of you, based on your past behaviors and performances mixed with his/her own biases and perspective. Think about ways that you can over deliver on your team, with your teammates and your coach. You can do this by treating people really really well, giving an exceptional effort in drills or sprints, or being an outstanding communicator.
We can also do this as coaches, employees, husbands, fathers, mothers and wives. In most circumstances, there are some general expectations that people have about how they will be treated, or how something will be done. And when we get into situations where people know us, or have some sort of perception of us based on past experience, there are personal expectations placed on us that we have a chance to over deliver on whenever we interact with them. Treat people really well, serve joyfully beyond what they expect, and commit to being your best in all that you do.
Give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised by what it does for you and those you serve.