November 10, 2008

Attitude is Everything!

A client asked me if I could work with an employee who was having difficulty handling her telephone responsibilities. “What appears to be the problem?” I asked. “She seems to be having trouble handling certain types of calls and becomes frustrated and almost hostile towards some callers.”

After more discussion I agreed to spend time coaching her. The first time we met it was easy to see that this wasn’t going to be a simple skill assessment and development issue. There were much deeper problems, specifically attitude issues that were at the root of her challenges.

Over a period of several coaching sessions we were able to see an obvious improvement. Fundamental to her success was the change in attitude that was made on her part. When that happened, everything else followed.

As part of the American workforce you are being expected to handle more responsibility, more quickly and with greater productivity than ever before. The pressures on you and your fellow employees are mounting and the pace of change and growth for most companies is staggering.

How will you handle these issues and pressures and still continue to maximize your growth? The foundation for survival and personal growth is based in attitudes. Now the question is HOW or WHERE do you learn to develop the right attitudes for success?

Today in America there are over 30,000 schools that will teach you how to do everything from cutting and curling hair to developing software applications. However, there is not a single school that will teach you HOW to be better than mediocre unless you have the right mental attitude.

In today’s educational systems 90% of our learning focus is directed at acquiring facts and figures with only 10% of our education aimed at our “feelings” or attitudes. Even that 10% is somewhat misleading because much of it is aimed at athletics and their related activities.

A Harvard University study revealed that 85% of the reasons for success, accomplishments and promotions were because of our attitudes and only 15% because of our technical expertise based on facts. This means we are spending 90% of our educational time and dollars developing that part of us which is responsible for 15% of our success. We spend 10% of our time and finances working to develop that part of us which accounts for 85% of our success.

William James, the father of American psychology, stated that the most important discovery of our times is that we can alter our lives by changing our attitudes. If that is true (and millions have testified to its validity) then perhaps it’s time we examine how we are training and developing the workforce of America.

Perhaps we need to look at the big picture to see that it is more than skills and knowledge that is important. It’s time for us to really examine what makes for success and how we develop attitudes that make the difference.

1 comment:

Jon said...

The article is interesting but defies it's own reasoning, identifying a problem with fact-based approaches to success, and suggesting the solution, whilst sticking to a fact based narrative and failing to point, directly, to a resource.