Byron's Babbles

What Do You Expect?

Posted in #OwnYourOwnExpectations, Expectations, Global Leadership, Leadership by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 27, 2020

Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony, expected that Sony would grow into the company it is today. Notice that I used the word “expected.” This thought of expecting something really jumped at me when reading Bargaining For Advantage: Negotiation Strategies For Reasonable People by G. Richard Shell. Morita’s childhood story is interesting and after being drafted into the Imperial Japanese Navy he would meet the man who would help him change the world of electronics, Masura Ibuka. Of his childhood, Morita said, When I was in high school my father bought me an electronic phonograph. The sound was fantastic. I was so impressed, I started to wonder how and why such sound came out. That’s when my interest in electronics began.” He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in physics from Osaka Imperial University.

Long story short, Morita and Ibuka invented a small transistor radio for Americans who loved taking music with them, but only had big bulky units to take to parks and beaches. Their first big breakthrough was an offer from Bulova to buy 10,000 of the transistor radios and sell under the Bulova brand. Morita had an expectation to sell under the Sony name and in a surprise move, turned the offer down. This same insight and empathy of customer needs led to the later development of the hugely successful Sony Walkman. Morita’s story shows us that it’s best to enter into negotiations with an optimistic expectation rather than a goal. The difference? A goal is a more abstract ambition, while an expectation is something that we think we can reasonably accomplish.

Morita had done his homework and showing great insight, realized that to sell effectively to the American market he needed to ‘get into the mind’ of the American people. He had to learn how they lived and more about how they ticked. Akio’s research and preparation made his expectations justifiable and legitimate. As I said at the beginning of this post, Akio Morita expected that Sony would grow into the company it is today.

In his book, Shell taught us that expectations give conviction to our statements. Believing that what we’re asking for is reasonable, given the facts at hand, is a powerful motivating force that makes us much more likely to succeed. Actually, I did a post back in 2012 entitled “Own Your Own Expectations.” In fact if you go to twitter and search the hashtag #OwnYourOwnExpectations you can check out some blasts from the past. And yes, I had #OwnYourOwnExpectations bracelets made. How about you? What do you expect?