There is one critical element of success that a company or individual can always control: ATTITUDE.
In any profession or situation in life, there are too many moving parts to ever guarantee success. From the economy to the quality of your product or service; from your competition to your market demand, something is always working against you.
No matter what else happens around you, only you can control your attitude. No one or thing can take that away. And although you may think it doesn’t matter, it does. Your brains and skills or luck and manipulation may take you far, but the wrong attitude will eventually bring you down.
At Red Clay Interactive the first, and biggest, thing I look at when interviewing a potential hire or completing a staff or client review is attitude. Skills can be enhanced. Process can be taught. But no matter how talented a person or company is, the wrong attitude WILL kill a company. And no matter how monetarily profitable a client may be, the wrong attitude WILL kill the relationship.
But it is not enough to just say you should have a positive attitude. What does that really mean? What is attitude? Can it be developed, or does it just come on us at birth? Can it be repaired after years of neglect? Let’s answer these questions by looking at the key components to a positive attitude.
A positive attitude starts with enthusiasm for what you do. It is important and is vital to the success of any individual or organization. People like people who are enthusiastic about what they do. There is magnetism about it. A glow. And people tend to respect an organization whose people are enthusiastic about what they do, and about their fellow workers, and their clients.
Do you come across as positive and enthusiastic, or do you give the impression of a person who would just as soon not be there? Attitude is generally gauged by someone else, not by you. So what is important to your success is not so much what you think your attitude is, but how others perceive you. And fortunately or unfortunately, attitude is most often conveyed by how we handle the little things.
When asked “How ya feeling?” do you answer “great”? Or is there an ominous and dramatic pause and then a litany of all the things wrong with the whole world. There are the cynics who will say this is foolishness, but is it? The question was not seeking a serious answer; it was a form of greeting. The answer, more than anything else, was a statement of your attitude toward the world at that moment and over time your attitude in general.
A clients emails at 5:29 p.m. and needs something desperately. And although both parties know they should have called three days ago the need is real and real urgent, what is your response? Do you ignore the request and email them in the morning apologizing for not seeing it the night before, or do you immediately hit reply with an enthusiastic “No problem!”?
One of the unfortunate, but realistic truths about business is the work load is rarely spread evenly. So a coworker is on overload and, without thinking about your workload, asks you for help. Is your response that you are sorry but you are just too busy as well, or is your answer one that will build the organization by simply replying, “Give me ten minutes to finish this, and I’ll be right with you.”?
And how do you perceive your job description? Is it a blue print for the minimum amount of work you do? Do you use it as a hiding place from doing other work? The attitude that says “you do it, it’s not my job” will do more to tear an organization down than anything else I know.
You have one all-consuming superior in your business: your client. You owe it to your clients to give them your very best shot every time; no matter whether they are large or small, glamorous or mundane. If you have accepted them as a client, you have accepted the obligation of giving them the very best you have on their behalf. They have come to you for your talent or product, and you owe them 100 percent.
In our industry, we are obligated, then, to give them our best thinking. To try to get out ahead of them and lead; to bring in new thinking and innovative ideas; to differ with them when appropriate. It is an obligation of all of Red Clay Interactive to provide our clients with new thinking, new ideas, creative solutions to problems, and creative approaches to opportunities.
An attitude that does not seek attention or worry about receiving accolades always wins. You should always do your utmost to make a hero of those people you work with in the client organization. It should be your intent to see the proper people in the client organization get the credit for their decision to trust you and work with you when your efforts are successful. Always make every effort to make heroes of those around you. When this happens you become invaluable and everyone wants to work with you.
One of the most important things any business can have is momentum. Create it! Ask any manager if she understands it in her business and she will say yes. Ask any coach what it means in team play, and he will say everything. Momentum is a magic ingredient in successful organizations, whether they are businesses, football teams or armies. Attitudes are one of the most important ingredients in the mix that builds business momentum.
Walter P. Chrysler built one of the big 3 automobile companies when car companies were folding all around him. He openly said he was looking for employees with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, he said, soon turns to real excitement about what they are doing. “I like to see people get excited,“ he went on. It was simple: “When they get excited, they get customers excited.” And when customers get excited, “we get business.”
The kind of enthusiasm which leads to excitement all begins with the development and cultivation of a positive attitude….
….a positive attitude toward yourself. ….a positive attitude toward your fellow workers. ….a positive attitude toward the work you do and the business you are in. ….a positive attitude toward your clients.
So if you currently have a bad attitude do not be dismayed, change it! Fortunately for us all, a positive attitude is, for the most part, an acquired habit. Psychologists have long known: if you want to become enthusiastic, act enthusiastic. This is the psychology of a pep rally, and it works.