Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Attitude matters

There was an old ad which used to go "It's not size that matters. It's the attitude." It is as much true for organizations as it is for individuals.

This is one factor which allows you to rise above circumstances, background, hierarchies and make a mark for yourself. It has both positive and negative connotations. Keeping with the spirit of this blog we focus on the positives.

Having a positive attitude and approach means half the job is already tackled. When somebody tells you something cannot be done, just delve into the issue and bring out the real motivations for the behavior. You can easily categorise such a negative response into the following reasons -
Skill set issue - The person does not know how to approach the task and get it done. Can we provide a training or a SOP which will mitigate the negative and turn it into a 'can do' situation?
Intention - This is where attitude steps in. It can be a case of 'I do not want to do this' due to a variety of reasons. I am too senior, too junior, not the right person, why can't someone else do this. All of these can be attributed to an intention of not doing the task. You can easily identify this person does not want to give his 100% to the job.
Values and Ethics - A positive spin to the Intention aspect will be if the task being asked of you goes against the grain of your values. Again a strong attitude is required to put your foot down and point out the wrongs of doing such a task. Today in most organisations there are governance bodies which can be approached in such conflict situations.

In evaluating the above points, we touched upon a couple of important aspects. The desire or intention to serve the organisation's goals and a can do attitude which allows us to give our 100% to the job.

In whatever we do in our personal or professional lives, I have seen those people succeed who have a desire to serve the larger interests. Such people bring with themselves a sincerity of purpose and are able to percolate their values into the environment. Thing start to fall into place with such people around. With such an attitude, you win the respect, appreciation and affection of all you touch.
These people do not come to their jobs just to make a living, they are there with a vision, a purpose, a desire to achieve and leave the place in a better shape than they found it.

Here's a quote to describe the motivation behind such an attitude - " I don't know if I will succeed in this, but I know for sure I would have failed if I had not attempted it."

Another question to ask oneself is - do I give my 100% to what I set out to do? I tried my best is not good enough. If the result is not as per expectations, then somewhere that 100% was definitely missing. Another try, another approach is definitely called for. You cannot quit after having 'tried your best'. You have to keep at it, not till your boss is satisfied with the output, not till your customer is satisfied with the output, but till your inner self is satisfied with the output and you are convinced you could not have delivered better. That is called giving your 100%.

Keep in check the trait of taking each day and just getting done with it to wriggle out at the end having put in less than what satisfies you. Success is not a stroke of luck or a bolt from the blue. It is a choice which is in our hands and is carved out of the so many mundane tasks that define our character and approach and attitude. We have this choice and we exercise this choice every day for every task that we encounter. The number of right choices we make defines our attitude for success.

Another thought here is that the only attitude we can control and change is our own. We cannot lay down how people will behave or how the wind will blow. All we can decide is how we will take it and make the best out of it.

I will end this article with an oft-repeated story of three people cutting stones and on being asked as to what they were doing, one replies "I am cutting stones", the other replies "I am earning my wages" while the last one replies "I am building a temple where people will find succour". Attitude Matters.