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Attitudes Carry a Heavy Weight in an Organization

depressed executiveHow many times have you been in the company of people whose appearance or actions would seem to indicate that the world is coming to an end? They are healthy, their family is healthy, and all elements are a go; yet they walk into the office or into a meeting and they are glum!

The news media often influences attitudes in such a way, delivering a dramatic message to gain an audience. Take, for example, the article in the September 24 Star Tribune, reporting that Halloween sales will be down this year. The National Federation of Retail drew this conclusion from the results of a survey claiming that the average consumer will spend $78.20 for Halloween this year, compared to $78.92 last year. Appearing on the same page was another report that “big box retailers” will hire less people for the all-important fourth quarter selling season.

That’s interesting news, and maybe it is true, but certain questions must be considered before making such conclusive predictions. What is the survey? How many companies were interviewed? What part of the country were these surveys taken? How much credence do you place on such articles? Finally, how much influence does this have on the general spending of the consumer? I really never understood why the news media loves negative news and I wonder how much influence it has on the attitude of the consumer and business owners.

In 2008, going into September, I distinctly remember that my clients had experienced strong sales and profits. October comes around and all the bad news hits the paper: Madoff, mortgage debacle—the next thing you know, there is a selling spree and the market tumbles. Was this real? Madoff was real – just ask the folks who invested with this Ponzi scheme!

The question I am really asking is whether we should let news like this affect us and change our attitude toward our business and companies. I really believe that, if you believe in everything you read and hear and let that news influence your attitude, it has a huge effect on your associates. One needs to be careful to understand where the news is really coming from and question its reliability and relevance to your business.

Having a positive attitude can turn a bad situation into a strong positive outlook. I remember a sage in my life who told me that what is going on behind the scenes does not need to be taken down to the selling floor. She would tell me to “put a smile on my face” and be positive because the customers really do not care about our problems and we need to meet them with a positive outlook.

Attitude is huge and has a tremendous impact on your staff and the people around you. Attitudes, positive or negative, carry a heavy weight in an organization.