I’ve waited a long time before sharing this story.

We’d been asked to present a How to Be Brilliant keynote for a new client at their staff conference.

The Chief Exec and I had two telephone conversations to find out about live issues and to dig deep on their ‘afters’ – what they wanted their staff to do / feel / act like after the keynote.

On the day of the event, I bounced into the venue and met the organiser who immediately said, ‘Let me introduce you to the boss, Michael; she’s dying to meet you’.

And this is the point when the bombshell comment was made. Addressing the Chief Exec, I did my usual, ‘Lovely to meet you’.

She looked me up and down and said, ‘Oh, I thought you’d be taller.’

I quickly ran through possible responses:

I thought you’d be thinner.’

Give me ten minutes, I’ll see what I can do.’

The one I actually said (with a big smile) was, ‘That’s why I asked for a stage on my rider.’

Fast forward a few hours… The keynote went well, her staff were buzzing and she was a raving fan.

Expectations can be dangerous. 

This time last year we had expectations that life would be ‘back to normal’ in a few months. It’s far from it.

Birthdays, Christmas, parties, nights out (remember them) are often not quite as good as we’d hoped.

TV shows and movies rarely live up to the trailer’s hype.

And the number of businesses that over-promise and under-deliver is still considerable.

Take a look at this week’s Magic Monday LIVE (YoutubeFacebookLinkedIn) which was: Is customer service getting better or worse?.

Is there a solution?

Lower your personal expectations.

Raise your personal delivery.

Be Brilliant!


PS I’m 5’6″

PPS Congratulations to Annie Watsham who won a copy of Flip It for her comment on my I Get To Go To Work Newsletter of 4th March 2021.  You can comment on this one below.


  1. March 18th 2021 by Lorraine Linley

    My husbands boss Mike is an absolute dynamo of energy and he has amazing presence even though he is only slightly taller than me ( I am 5ft 3) Height makes no difference to your abilities and Michael you would be tall next to me even if I have my heels on !

  2. March 19th 2021 by Simon Lewis

    In general I believe very strongly that training can only go so far – there’s always an element of how the person at the other end of the transaction is feeling.
    But there’re exceptions.
    Last night I had my COVID19 vaccination at Oxford football stadium. I drove up to be met by a small pose in the carpark and from the off the staff were really really friendly and super-efficient. I’m not easy to please and was genuinely impressed.
    They were .. Brilliant!

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