Encourage Positive Thinking Makes Exceptional
By Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D.
employees make for exceptional businesses. You certainly can recognize
a great employee when you see one—whether it’s the co-worker who
motivates her 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.
business today, most employers don’t stress enough the need for a
positive attitude; rather, they concentrate on more “important”
professional development activities. They would rather spend training
dollars sending an employee to a seminar on negotiation strategies or
marketing tactics rather than one on developing positive attitudes and
beliefs—the business tools that really make or break success. What
employers fail to realize is that an employee’s attitude is even
more important than his or her ability to locate prospects and
negotiate deals. No matter how “good” that employee is, without
addressing attitude, your best efforts in developing that employee
will be in vain.
prospects, current customers, and even your community judge you and
your company based 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’ attitude and
language reflect your professionalism and move your company to new
levels of success. So don’t settle for negative thinking in your
employees. Instead, encourage them, and teach them how to focus on the
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. Use the
following two methods to develop the kind of exceptional employee who
will keep your customers coming back and your business growing strong.
Rid of the "Yeah Buts."
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 are giving power to
negative thinking, which prevents you from making something positive
To get rid
of your “yeah buts,” deal with them the same way as 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. When you
have a “yeah-but” moment, ask yourself, “Does this
‘yeah-but’ have to limit my success?” You’ll quickly realize
that 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.
Playing the “If Only-Then” and the “When-Then” Game:
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, and then starts flailing about and sinks
rapidly. Quicksand Thinking, as the term suggests, is when you step
into a disguised and dangerous way of thinking and begin to sink
faster than the poor fellow in the Tarzan movie. The most common form
of Quicksand Thinking in business is When-Then and If Only-Then
beliefs. When you engage in If Only-Then thinking, you believe meeting
your goal is impossible because of something that occurred in the
past. When you engage in When-Then thinking you believe that your goal
achievement is conditional upon something happening in the future.
step in getting out of Quicksand Thinking is recognizing that you have
fallen into it. Identify your If Only-Then and When-Then thinking. The
following is a list of common If Only-Then and When-Then statements
that are often heard in the business world. Have you caught yourself
saying any of these?
“If Only-Then” Beliefs
only I had not done what I did, then
I could be successful.
only I was not under so much pressure, then
I could be more effective.
only I'd had a better support staff, then
I could meet my goals.
only I had better leads from management, then I would make the sales.
only I had a different job, then
I would feel motivated.
you stop doing what you are doing, then
I will work as a team member.
I have more of a budget, then
I will be able to meet expectations.
I get promoted, then I
will give it my all.
I am back from vacation, then
I will address this problem.
I find the right position,
then I will be happy.
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.
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 too
simplistic, but it works! In short, the key to getting out of
quicksand thinking is not to panic, but be still, recognize your if
only-then and when-then thinking, and try a new approach. You will 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.
in business is fierce these days. With so many similar products or
services 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. Practice recognizing
and letting go of your “yeah but,” “if only-then,” and
“when-then” thinking so every interaction showcases your positive
outlook, experience, and professionalism. Before you know it, your
customers will be unable to resist your can-do attitude, and your
business will soar.
Read other articles and learn more
about Dr. Lee Jampolsky.
[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis.
Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and