Exceptional Thinking Makes Exceptional Employees - Management
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Exceptional Thinking Makes Exceptional Employees

By Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D.

Article Date: 07-01-2005
Copyright(C) 2005 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Encourage positive thinking to increase productivity and profit.

Exceptional employees make for exceptional businesses. You certainly can recognize a great employee when you see one - whether it's the co-worker who motivates the team during a crisis or a customer service representative who turns an angry caller into a loyal customer. Often, the thing that separates an average employee from an exceptional one is attitude. By helping your employees overcome negative thinking, you can turn your average employees into the kind of professionals who will bring success to your company year after year. 

In business today, most employers don't stress the need for a positive attitude enough. What employers fail to realize is that an employee's atti-tude is even more important than the ability to locate prospects and negotiate deals. No matter how "good" an employee is, without addressing attitude, your best efforts in developing that employee will be in vain. 

Your prospects, customers, and even your community judge you and your company on the attitudes and language your employees put out to the world. Employees who act and speak negatively, departments that settle for status quo, and managers that see a dismal future send the message that your company is without vision, without leadership, and probably incapable of delivering quality service. 

People want to do business with those individuals they perceive as positive, skilled, and able to overcome obstacles. Your employees' attitudes and language reflect your professionalism and move your company to new levels of success. Don't settle for negative thinking in your employees. Instead, encourage them, and teach them how to focus on the positives.   

Fortunately, you don't have to be a trained psychologist to change negative attitudes and bring positive attitude and vision to your company. Strong leaders can transform negative attitudes and language that could cost them sales, customer satisfaction, and loyalty into positive thoughts that yield happy employees and customers. To develop exceptional employees who will keep your customers coming back and your business growing strong:

Get Rid of the "Yeah Buts"
Teach them to: "Resist searching for ways by which your personal, departmental, or company success can be taken away. Every time you have a thought like, ‘Well, yeah, maybe I can make a sale, but if production doesn't do their part, then I can't sell anything,' you're giving power to negative thinking, which prevents you from making something positive happen. 

"To get rid of your ‘yeah buts,' deal with them the same way you control weeds in your yard - by pulling one at a time. Negative thoughts - just like weeds - will rapidly grow out of control unless you stop them. Nothing is more important in any given moment than focusing on what you can do, rather than on what you can't do.

"When you have a ‘yeah-but' moment, ask yourself, ‘Does this yeah-but have to limit my success?' You'll quickly realize it doesn't. You can then reframe your statement to focus on the positive rather than the negative." 

Above all else, teach your employees the power of positive thinking by demonstrating that difficult circumstances may be unavoidable, but failure is optional.

Stop the "If Only-Then" and "When-Then" Games
Quicksand. Just the word conjures up images of an old Tarzan movie: A naive visitor to the jungle takes that fateful step into the pit of sludge, thinking it solid ground, starts flailing about and sinks rapidly. Quicksand Thinking, as the term suggests, is when someone step into a disguised and dangerous way of thinking and begins to sink faster than the poor fellow in the Tarzan movie. The most common forms of Quicksand Thinking in business are "When-Then" and "If Only-Then." 

When someone engages in "If Only-Then" thinking, he or she believes meeting the goal is impossible because of something that occurred in the past. When they engage in "When-Then" thinking, they believe the goal achievement is conditional upon something happening in the future.

Following is a list of common "If Only-Then" and "When-Then" statements that are often heard in the business world.

  • If only I had not done what I did, then I could be successful.
  • If only I was not under so much pressure, then I could be more effective. 
  • If only I'd had a better support staff, then I could meet my goals. 
  • If only I had better leads from management, then I would make the sales. 
  • If only I had a different job, then I would feel motivated. 
  • When you stop doing what you are doing, then I will work as a team member. 
  • When I have more of a budget, then I will be able to meet expectations. 
  • When I get promoted, then I will give it my all. 
  • When I am back from vacation, then I will address this problem.  
  • When I find the right position, then I will be happy.
In the Tarzan movies, if the unfortunate soul in the quicksand was smart enough to stay still, the next step was to hope somebody would throw him a vine. If only the victim knew that he didn't need to rely on someone else to get him out. He had the power within him. All he needed to do was to stop panicking, relax his body, and spread his arms and legs. Then his body would have risen to the top of the quicksand and he could crawl out.

"When you find yourself in Quicksand Thinking, be still. Remind yourself, ‘This way of thinking is sinking me!' 

"Next, consciously choose to change the way you think and come up with a solution. Sounds simplistic, but it works! In short, the key to getting out of quicksand thinking is not to panic: Be still, recognize your If Only-Then and When-The thinking, and try a new approach. 

"You'll be surprised by what you can accomplish when you stop thinking negatively. Focus on what you can do, rather than on what you can't."

Better Attitude Now
Competition in business is fierce these days. With so many similar products out there, a positive attitude can mean the difference between keeping a customer and losing one. Don't let a negative attitude or contaminated outlook kill the deal.

Teach your employees to recognize and let go of "Yeah But," "If Only-Then," and "When-Then" thinking so every interaction showcases a positive outlook, experience, and professionalism.

Before you know it, your customers will be unable to resist your company's can-do attitude, and your business will soar.

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Article Categories:  Human Resources  »  Management