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You Can’t Raise Performance with Low Expectations

...tivity is likely to be poor.” Dov Eden, leadership professor and author of Pygmalion in Management: Productivity as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, reports, “The Pygmalion Effect is great science that is under applied. It hasn’t made the difference it should have in the world, and that’s very disappointing.” The goldfish analogy illustrates the impact of expectations and beliefs. If you buy a little goldfish and keep it in a small bowl, it will grow a...

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Coaching Head Check: Do You See Eagles or Turkeys?

...n Management,” J. Sterling Livingston draws from the ancient Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who carved a statue of a beautiful woman that came to life. George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion (which was the basis for “My Fair Lady”) used a similar theme. In the play, Eliza Doolittle explains, “The difference between a flower girl and a lady is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.” Livingston presents a number of his own studies, as well...

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My Fair Lady Shows the Power of Expectations

...ed to see the show for years as a result of reading and talking about “The Pygmalion Effect” in my work. This powerful leadership force was first publicized in J. Sterling Livingston’s classic 1969 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Pygmalion in Management.” He researched and wrote the article while a professor at Harvard Business School. Here’s part of his conclusion: “The powerful influence of one person’s expectations on another’s behavi...

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How Leaders Cause Their Direct Reports to Sink or Soar

...heir direct report’s self-image and performance. This has been called “The Pygmalion Effect” as shown in George Bernard Shaw’s play “My Fair Lady” (“My Fair Lady Shows the Power of Expectations“). In their latest Harvard Business Review blog, “If Your Boss Thinks You’re Awesome, You Will Become More Awesome“, Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman report on a recent study drawn from Zenger Folkman’s large database of 360 assessments. They compared managers w...

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Review of Humankind: A Hopeful History

...eople, you’ll believe all this monitoring should be entrusted to you.” The Pygmalion Effect’s been thoroughly tested and proven hundreds of times over the last fifty years. Yet leaders, parents, teachers, coaches, etc. persist in holding low expectations and feeling proved right when people live down to them. Many of Bregman’s recommendations for applying his findings center on raising expectations and elevating leadership behaviors to draw out th...

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…. the Power of Expectations

...overall performance, even improving their personal appearance. It was the Pygmalion effect in action: Expecting the best from people can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence “There is no rule more invariable than that we are paid for our suspicions by finding what we suspected.” – Henry David Thoreau, American author, naturalist, and philosopher “Theories of human behavior become self-fulfilling. W...

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Humankind

A few favorite excerpts (so many to choose from) of my review of Rutger Bregman’s Humankind: A Hopeful History. …to stand up for human goodness is to take a stand against the powers that be. For the powerful, a hopeful view of human nature is downright threatening. Subversive. Seditious. It implies that we’re not selfish beasts that need to be reined in, restrained and regulated. It implies that we need a different kind of leadership. …cynicism...

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