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"Attitude Check"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"ô

(c) 2002, A Few Good People, Inc.

Attitude is like the foundation of a building: it doesnít matter how well the building is designed, built, or maintained; it will fail if the foundation isnít sound.

When you run your own business (or, for that matter, when you live your life) there will be ups and downs, successes and failures. Your attitude will determine how you handle them, and how you handle them will determine your success.

Basically, attitude is about choices and expectations. First, letís talk about choices. Everything you do or say is a choice. There is always a choice. Paying taxes, for example, is a choice: you could choose to go to jail instead of coughing up the dough. Why you would do that is beyond me, but it is still a choice.

Attitudes affect more than your choices, though; they affect your expectations. I am a firm believer in the old axiom "Things tend to happen the way you expect them to happen". If your attitude affects your expectations, and your expectations affect the way things happen, then your attitude affects the way things happen. Either consciously or subconsciously we do things that tend to sway the outcome of any given situation to match our expectations.

For example, if you are making a sales call and you are sure that there wonít be a sale, you probably wonít give a very convincing argument to buy, will you?

Iím going to go out on a limb here and say this: attitude is the single most important element of success in your business and your life.

At one point I needed to hire a salesman (selling software to large corporations). I had been through several different guys and none of them really had what I needed. Enter Andy.

Andy is my first wifeís brother. (It helped that Iím still on good terms with my first wife, and that my current wife is too!) There were two things wrong with having Andy as my salesman: 1) he had no computer background or experience (he couldnít even spell "PC"!) and 2), he lived in Phoenix, about 400 miles away. Talk about a round peg in a square hole! ButÖ he had a great attitude; that "Whatever-it-takes-I-can-do-it, the-customer-is-always-right-and-Iíll-always-treat-them-well" attitude that you just canít easily teach somebody. I figured that I could teach him about computers and my software and that the attitude would be part of the package.

I was right. He had to learn about sales, about mainframe computers and how programming organizations worked, he had to learn how to use a PC and how to use the software that ran on it. He learned it all and did wellÖ how? ATTITUDE. He was one of those people that you just canít help but like, and even if someone wasnít interested in our product they were always happy to hear from him. These are skills that are much harder to teach than computer and selling skills, so I was happy to invest in him.

Itís time for an attitude check. Yours and your employeesí. Is it pushing you forward or holding you back? Think about it; it could mean the difference between success and failure.

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