Every so often certain topics seem to cycle back around, reminding me of their power and impact.

It happened again this morning while reading a past issue of Success magazine that I stumbled across while rearranging some office furniture.

The topic is expectations and in his regular column in the magazine leadership expert John Maxwell shared one of those stories that demonstrates how much of an impact expectations have on performance…something all credit union leaders need to remember every day.

Here’s the gist of the story Maxwell shared.

Several years ago three teachers were invited into the principal’s office at a school in California. They were told that because they were such outstanding teachers they were being given a chance to work with the best students in an experimental program for the coming school year.

Each teacher would be assigned a group of 30 high-IQ students with exceptional potential. The task ahead of each of these teachers was to push these students to see how far they could go within the coming school year.

No doubt by now you know where this is heading.

At the end of the year these students had gone far beyond the level of material normally covered in the grade they were in and the teachers were called in to discuss the results of the experiment. The teachers beamed with pride as they learned how much these students had accomplished under their tutelage.

Then the rest of the story was revealed…the three teachers were selected at random by drawing names from a hat.

The lesson: Because both the teachers and the students were expected to do more and go further, they did.

ACTION ADVICE: Take a few moments to think about the employees you lead in your credit union on a day-to-day basis. What expectations have you communicated to them? What are your beliefs regarding their abilities? How much better would the team perform if they knew they were expected to be the best and it was regularly reinforced? Are there any not so great performers who might step up their game if they knew more was expected from them?

IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Remember…one of the key jobs of the leader is that of cheerleader and encourager…if you set the bar high, they will push harder and raise it beyond where you set it. If you don’t believe it, try it and see what happens.