Mar 6, 2011


I remember one of my first teachers in school was always saying: "You cannot evaluate something, unless you compare it with something else." And this is so true.

When we have several elements to evaluate, we are always more critique with the first (one or two) options. Then for the next ones, we start comparing with the previous options and most of times this also means that we become less critique.

This is also used in negotiation techniques: for example, you start from the highest possible price and then you present cheaper options.

It is the psychology of human beings, that they are more likely to accept something if they were exposed to worse conditions in advance, rather than accepting it if it was the first thing to hear about.

But what happens to the quality of some deliverables you ask from your colleagues or a service provider?

Going through lots of possibilities, seeing many tend to lower expectations. You can end up accepting something that was unacceptable in the first place, but later on you become open to it. Especially if there are also some time constrains. However, if you carry those results outside of the internal work (outside your team project, for example), the others do not have the same terms of comparison as you had. You might not even know with what they will compare it. And most probably they will have higher expectations than you at that point in time.

So what is there to do?
The best solution I can think of is to work on things on shorter terms and avoiding going through too many internal alternatives. If it isn't "love at first sight", then it shouldn't be - even in business.


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