Management by Objectives, strategic planning, quality, teams, re-engineering. Passing management fads? Consultants, more consultants. Training and more training. Businesses are littered by the corpses of all these attempts at finding the way to become better.
What happened? What went wrong? How can simple and productive ideas like these have failed in some companies while succeeding in others? In some companies one finds employees sneering at management, not believing on anything, just letting the days go by. In others one can see an uplifted employee force. They are committed to their work, they communicate with each other, they read company publications, they ask questions and hear the answers.
What is the cause? What is the difference? ATTITUDES. Attitude is one of those words that we have difficulty defining. It is a state of mind, a disposition, it reflects in our moods and personality, it molds our perspectives and preferences. It can result in laxity or negligence: an "Itís Not My Job" mentality; or in an open-minded "Can Do" behavior.
Attitudes makes us who we are, how we think and act, how we respond to challenges, how we look at things. Attitudes are created and modified. We are not born with them. They are developed from early childhood.
There is a direct link between the way we think and the way we behave. When people come in contact with us they are responding to our personality, which is the outer expression of our inner attitudes. Our behavior (or personality) directly impacts our success. Since behavior is based on attitudes, attitude is one of the key ingredients for success.
Look at your favorite people in history. Why did they succeed? Was it their skills alone? There are millions with the skills and the knowledge who are not successful. In most cases winners have a driving attitude to succeed. Lincoln lost many elections before becoming president. John Paul II was shot and came close to death. Beethoven was deaf.
Even in medical terms, positive attitude is a remarkable force. Positive thinking has been determined to be a "miracle drug" that you manufacture within yourself. As June Bierman, author of "Diabetes in the News" says "this miracle drug has no side effects, doesnít require a doctorís prescription and doesnít cost you a penny." What a powerful force!
What are your attitudes? Do you live thinking that any situation is an opportunity for success? Or do you believe that sooner or later something bad is going to happen? Do you look at things as "too much trouble," "there is nothing I can do?" Or do you say "this is an opportunity for me," "this is my chance to shine"?
So how can we develop our attitudes? Obviously, we first must realize that we need to. Then we must want to. If not, we will never change them. The most practical way to change attitudes is through spaced repetition, which is how attitudes were developed originally. Human behaviorists estimate that if you are exposed to an idea six times during six days, you will retain 62% of the idea after 15 years.
Another powerful tool to change attitudes is affirmations. Remember Mohamad Ali. He used to brag all the time that he was the greatest ó he was re affirming his belief in himself. We need to do the same! Continuos use of positive affirmations about us have a tremendous power on how we see ourselves; how we see ourselves impacts how we act, how we act impacts our success.
Is this all we need to be successful? No. We also need SKILLS. Most companies send employees to technical training; but many are not concerned with human behavioral skills. The higher we go in an organization, the less technical skills we need; however, the human behavioral skills become critical to the job. We must keep in mind the "soft" skills as well as the technical skills required for our job. We can find people to fill in our lack of technical skills but is very difficult to get someone to replace our lack of human behavioral skills.
What else do we need to be successful? Think about how many times have we had the best of intentions to do something and we have quit along the way? The answer is : GOALS. Goals "make sure" that we stay on track and aimed at our success. We should emphasize personal goals as well as professional goals. Actually, they are integrated. Excelling in one propels the other. We must set goals for improvement for ourselves, making sure they are realistic, specific, measurable, actionable and time bound.
Develop an action plan to accomplish your goal with positive affirmations to guide you. Slowly you will see your life changing. What about in business ?. How many of us find ourselves with no business goals, no direction? We fall in a daily routine of answering telephones, writing letters, having meetings, etc. Without goals for improvement we become slaves to the system, to the process. Goals drive companies to success.
A change in our attitudes, skills and goals will result in changed behavior. This new behavior will bring about improved results, both in our personal lives as well as in our business live. A very simple formula: Positive Attitudes, combined with Skills and Goals result in success.