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Attitude – Evolving From a Me Vs. You Mentality to an Us Mentality for Peak Performance

SERIES: Part One of a Five-Part Article
The new business order is “Change” (as detailed in the past four columns), and a significant change in attitude will be required for professionals if sustained profitability in performance is to be realized in the work place.
A major impediment to this transformation in ATTITUDE will be elimination of the traditional distrust between labor and management, between business and its customers and between veterans and new entries to an organization. All of this will rest upon the emergence of true leaders in the business place.
There is enough finger-pointing to go all around the business place today. Whether you are an employee, who has traditionally been raised to be anti-management, or management, who traditionally sees labor leaders as troublemakers, the old DNA of business must be terminated.
There is a new set of rules for survival and prosperity.
One of the most alarming examples of perpetuating negative and toxic attitudes was of workers being directed by their union to not work. MAXIM Magazine’s recent article cited members of the “Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees” as having been directed to merely repackage without cleaning blankets from United Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada. In fact, 78 percent of the blankets tested were found to have pathogens linked to eye and lung infections.
The real fallout of these internal implosions is the external customer. And in a difficult economy, loosing your customer will be a definite map to unemployment for everyone concerned.
The persona or attitude that says, “Yea for me, and the hell with you,” puts people at odds. A persona or attitude that says tune into WIIFU, “What’s In It for Us” (See our recent book release, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? ISBN #0-9718010-4-5 / US $12.95), will bring people back together.
As a tactical leader, here are “Ten Action Steps” to be used the next time you encounter an attitude digressing towards self-centeredness, department-centeredness or click-centeredness and away from unity-centeredness:
1. Demand An Alternative© Times Three – If a person is fighting you or others on every idea or possible action implementation plan, stop justifying your position or debating them. Merely politely transition the conversation away from you and, by using “us language,” demand a viable alternative. It might sound like, “If this idea is not viable in your estimation, what do you feel we should do as an alternative?”

If they fail to respond, don’t become combative and don’t let their silence let them off the hook. Instead, repeat the same polite question until they put up or shut up!
2. Assign 100 Percent Accountability – In place of challenging the other person, thus playing into their conversation trap, or working to convert them to your view, which they will further resist as a veiled attempt to appease them or manipulate them, put them solely in charge of that which they would like you and others to believe they are exceedingly more knowledgeable.
3. Go One-on-One in Private – Meet with them where there would be no audience. Have pre-written the specific challenge issue and several possible resolutions. Then go face-to-face and share your concerns. Play to them how others perceive them and how that is lowering their stock value. Then invite them to partner with you to bring their wisdom, knowledge and experience out into the open for all to benefit.
4. Avoidance and Limit Exposure – Actively limit your exposure to these people to need only basis. By reducing your causal interactions, you will begin to place distance between their normal behavioral patterns and you; this sometimes will bring out a more hospitable persona. And, as a managerial-leader, limiting this destructive person to others on the teams limits their toxic abilities!
5. Horizontal (peer application) and Vertical (boss-leader directed) Action Information Gram© – As a peer or leader of an individual that posses a sabotaging attitude, look for an upcoming opportunity to deploy this tactic. An ideal application: after your next meeting with this person, where a new project is rolled out, send an action-oriented, success-directed e-mail to all parties in that roll out. Reference by name each person and what piece they won. Invite everyone to openly share suggestions with one another for immediate effectiveness, reference the follow-up date and where each party has committed to being and make sure a copy goes to each player’s direct supervisor. There is no negative intent with such an e-mail, and if the negative person would have otherwise been negative or toxic, you have made it easier for them to be successful and productive!
6. Action Memo© Dialogue – Build more “we” based performance attitudes by soliciting action plans from others as often as possible. An Action Memo© stipulates a simple two-step approach to decision-making. Step One would be the identification of the “WHAT FACTOR”…what is the challenge, what is the problem, what is the new idea one wants to introduce, etc. In Step Two, you would simply draft three possible “HOW FACTORS.” Application of this turn around tactic could be in a meeting when someone interrupts you with an item for discussion that is not on the agenda. You would politely turn to them while writing down the new “WHAT FACTOR” that they have introduced and, while handing back to them the piece of paper with their new “WHAT FACTOR,” task them with drafting two or three viable ways that it could be addressed (the HOW FACTORS).
7. Pain Versus Pleasure Factor – Psychology suggests that, at the root of all behaviors, individuals act based upon a positive gain (pleasure factor) or an avoidance of negativity (pain factor). With the performance attitude derailer, explore which of these two avenues might best serve to change their attitude and, thus, behavior to a more desirable level.
8. Change Glasses – Perhaps looking at issues, people and the business environment from the perspective of the person you perceive as having a destructive team attitude may give some vision of how they arrived at their position. By arriving at this finding, you can reverse that process over time and coach to a new level of greatness that no one may have thought possible.
9. Rules of Engagement – Share with the other party how you like to operate, your preferred communication patterns and how you prefer others engage you for peak performance. Then solicit the same from the other person and work to respect them as often as possible. Sometimes people become internally frustrated and exhibit this outwardly with a negative or challenging attitude. By knowing one another’s Rules Of Engagement, you will know each other’s playbook and avoid inadvertently pushing each other’s preverbal hot buttons!
10. Mentor Involvement – Instead of working to find ways to isolate a potential performance-sabotaging attitude player, reverse all expectations and identify the level of expertise or functionality that they do possess within your organization. Allow them to step up to the plate as a MENTOR to others. This revalues their place within your organization and gives them a reason to become a contributor instead of a derailer! 
Evolving from an attitude of one person versus another and onward to an attitude of how do “we” work together is the new business order in a decade of miss guided business leader’s, abdication of ethics and common sense and a spirit of condoned greed and corruption.
Becoming a tactical leader and working to get all players to change their engrained listening patterns away from WIIFM and into the same frequency of “What’s In It For Mankind” or the new WIIFU will be a legacy of success.

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