Surprise is a powerful strategy in its own right. Surprise means being ahead of the game, being further ahead than others thought you would be, being able to pull out an organizational solution, disclose the next new idea when nobody was expecting one, take a rabbit out of the hat, bring to the market something that nobody has asked for.
Surprise the market, surprise your boss, surprise yourself, surprise your followers, surprise your teams, surprise the guys in corporate. All of them.
I know what you are thinking. Your boss does not like surprises. In fact, there are two types of bosses who don’t want surprises. Type one is the one who does not want bad surprises. Type two, the one who does not want any surprise at all, good or bad. Type one is understood; nobody wants bad news. You would not set out to surprise with bad news. Not on purpose! The latter is a tricky one, because there are many people who, in fact, hate unpredictability. For them ‘meeting the budget’ is better than being surprised with savings. In other words, predictable numbers are better than unpredictable ones, even if these are better numbers. If you head a cost centre, such as R&D, spending every penny or cent may be ‘better’ than producing ‘an under-spend’. I’ve seen people labelled as bad managers by not spending what they said they would. If you don’t understand this, you may not have run one of these. Markets also like predictability. Investors like your accuracy. The whole industry of ‘fixed mortgages’ is based on the beauty and comfort of predictability. Surprising needs guts.
I hear all that. Yet, I will repeat myself. Surprise the market, surprise your boss, surprise yourself, surprise your followers, surprise your teams, surprise the guys in corporate. I am confident that you know what I mean.
The trade offs are: predictability and safe journey, or surprise and leadership. Nobody can argue against safe journeys, so you will be forgiven for ‘meeting expectations’. I personally dislike the ‘exceeding expectations’ expression. It sounds like heavy rain. I prefer surprise, regardless of expectations.