Archives for Attitude is Everything

Fresh Start for a New Year

A new year has begun, 2017 at that, and we are already hurry-scurrying through the first weeks.

For some, this is a time of reflection on the year just past and on the things we’d have done differently had we the opportunity for a ‘do-over’.  For others the new year is simply that time when we shift into overdrive to gain a step or two on our competition, business competition or personal competition.

A bit of each of those approaches is often ‘just what the doctor ordered’.  We certainly can be helped by a bit of retrospection, not to dwell on the past, but to gain from those experiences.  We ought to take the time to gain from all our experiences, from those that made us feel great and from those that had the reverse effect.  Both are important parts of who we are.

This is a great time in which to look around at the new world of 2017.

If we’ve had a plan for our careers, where are we in that process?  Are we where we wanted to be or have we surpassed our goals?  What is it that we want to be able to say we accomplished come this time next new year?

If we have had no plan for our careers, might it be time to create such a plan?  We are not technically in the personal consulting business, but we do a lot of that as we work to help people understand what we see as their strong suits and where and how they might make themselves more attractive to a new employer.  We have a very good feel for the marketplace and that may be something we can help you bring to your personal conversation.

If we reflect on the past year, as most of us do in one way or another, we probably find that we had anticipated some of what happened but were blindsided by other aspects.  That reflection might include personal situations, workplace situations, whether or not to add more education credentials, and where the future seems to be pointing for those  with our present skill sets.

Once we’ve had that personal ‘sit down’ with self, there is that whole thing of just what we decide we’re going to do to improve or change the situation.

If we are in an industry that is being chipped away at by new technology, we may be at the turning point personally.  If we have just accomplished adding another notch to the experience we have, this may be the year that we try out the new credentials.

Maybe we’ve had a life-changing experience.  If that is true for you, this might be a good time to re-think where you are and where you are going in the new year if you stay on the current pathway.  Part of the job we try to do is to help our candidates be as honest with self as is possible.  That is sometimes a bit awkward, but it is sometimes the wake-up call that is necessary to get a person back on the track best-suited to their experience and current situation.

Feel free to give us a call or stop to see us if you’re in the area.  We benefit by being of assistance to you and unless we get together, we’re both going to miss that opportunity.  Best wishes for a personal best in 2017!

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

The Power of Optimism

optimism-1 Optimistic people fare better in interviews all other things being equal. That is the simple truth. Most people like people who have optimism, so long as it isn’t exaggerated and overblown simply for effect.

Optimism and smiles tend to go together. (See our recent entry http://wfastaffing.com/smile/ ) So there is a double-whammy in the package of a person interviewing for a position who is both optimistic and who has a ready smile; those people usually will have a better experience sometimes because they expected to have a better experience.If we are self-confidant without being overbearing, and we couple that with optimism and a sense of humor, the odds are in our favor if we have the work-related qualification the employer seeks.  This might seem too simple to really have an impact, but it does have an impact.  This combination is sort of the ‘holy grail’ for prospective employers, or the trifecta that simply doesn’t present itself too often.

If you are one of these people, you have probably been quite successful and you might not even understand why, or you may never have given it a thought because life has always been good.

So, what about the person who hasn’t experienced this before?  Is all lost for that person?  Certainly not, but you have to become aware of those things that can help you with optimism in the interview.

You need to have self-confidence; that is hard to fake.

You have very solid attributes. You need to take inventory of those and be sure you make use of them.  A ready smile is valuable.  A good self-image is important.  If you need to buy a new outfit for the interview, maybe that is a good investment if it helps you feel better about yourself.

You need to have a download-3positive view of yourself, without being egotistical, and about the world around you, and recognize and convey that you are a good person, and would be a valuable employee, if this proves to be the right setting.  You need to have your ‘elevator speech’ prepared.  What in the world is an elevator speech?  It is that 45 to 60 second talk that tells who you are and why you think you can be a value to this employer.  You may review your education and experience in short, succinct bites. And don’t forget about your personality and values.  It needs to feel natural and to be ready to be provided every time you encounter a new person or new situation. Maybe it is better thought of as the response to the interviewer’s request:  “tell me a little about yourself”.

Self-confidence and optioptimism-is-the-faith-that-leads-to-achievementmism about who you are will go a long way toward a favorable interview experience and for your future.

Al Campbell, Account Executive

 

 

Trust Your Team

trust“A team is not a group of people who work together.  A team is a group of people who trust each other.”      Emmanuel Giavarini, Managerial Comm. Mgr. for a French Transportation System 

This quote attributed to the person identified above was found on her Facebook page and immediately made an impression on me.  I suspect it may have that same effect on other readers.

We, in business, work diligently to craft teams that perform at acceptable levels.  This is true almost without exception across all kinds of business organizations if the organization has more than one employee.  We tend to think about this in terms of the word ‘teamwork’; we are taught this from the time we can remember throughout our education.

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!

How often, if at all, do we translate teamwork into trust in each other?  When that is stated, it makes sense without much thought being given to it.  If we watch our favorite football team, we see that teamwork is obvious in the level of trust amongst the players.  There is a chemistry that is immediately recognizable.  The quarterback calls a play and everyone immediately knows what each of the other teammates will be doing during the coming action.  Each player trusts that each of the other members of the team will be doing exactly what is expected, where it is expected and when it is expected.  This is especially true in practice when there may not be an opposing team involved in trying to thwart the play.

trust-me

Do you trust each of your team members to be where they’re supposed to be. Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it?

Of course you do since that is what it takes to produce consistent results.  This might be more easily observed in a manufacturing environment but it is equally as important in an office.

How often thotrust-e1400663980941ugh do we actually think of a team as being based on all the members knowing they can trust their other team mates?  If one member of the team doesn’t have implicit trust in each other member of that team, the team won’t function as well as it should. .  This is fairly easy to picture in a physical activity since there are physical actions that intertwine with the physical actions of the other team members.  Think of firefighters who instinctively know what every other person is going to be doing.

When we transfer this team trust concept to the office, it is potentially more difficult to picture. Thoughts are impossible to see.  Teammates know that there are things that need to happen but we are not necessarily able to see them happening.  We take it on faith that each step will occur as it needs to occur.

We trust each other; therefore we function as a team.  If that trust isn’t there, we do not function as well, if at all.  As the quote said,

A team is a group of people who trust each other.

021_phixr     Alan Campbell, Account Executive

 

New Year’s Resolution: Daily Planning

The New Year is Happy New Yearat the same time a bit of a mystery and an enticing possibility.  We have completed the old year even if there are a few things still hanging on from that period.  We are gearing up for the exciting next twelve months.  There is an aura of excitement over the unknown.

If you are like most people, you are making, or have made, your high level plans for 2016.  Those plans would be for the big things you see or hope for in your 2016.  Maybe they include the next vacation location or seeing a child off to a particular college.  Maybe you feel you are due for a different/newer vehicle in 2016.  Maybe you are even thinking of searching out a ‘better job’ which might mean simply a different boss, or better pay or even a position in a different city.

It is easier for most of us to make these high level plans than it is to make the detailed plans that week-by-week will get you to the place your high level plan calls for, and you are not alone.   Too often it is easier to dream the big dream than it is to deal with the realities that each day and each week bring with them.

We create problems for ourselves if we only do the big dreaming and never quite get down to the plan for today and tomorrow and next week.  We too often fall victim to the excitement and joy of the big plans instead of dealing with the day-to-day.

It is wonderful to have the big plan…but it is essential to have that daily plan, that plan that gets you from Monday to Friday with the accomplishments of each day upon which to build.   We need both the dream of the future as well as the plan for today and for this week and for this month.  And, we need for those to be properly aligned with one and other.  Today comes before next month.  And next month comes before the vacation you have planned.

Plans are important so long as they are workable.  Planning has to include a decided dose of reality if it is to be a successful plan.  We put twelve months into last year; each of the days came in the order they were shown on the calendar.  In order to be successful for the year, we need to string a lot of successful days together.  That sounds like a tough task but it is much easier since we can deal with today without worrying about next week or next month.

If we have a bad today, we can plan for a better tomorrow.  We have a whole New Year ahead of us, but we are in much better shape if we take that New Year one day at a time and get the most possible from each day.

 

Tom Krist, CEO

Tom Krist

Attitude

Having-a-Can-Do-attitude

The importance of pride in our accomplishments is often overlooked or just plain never thought about.  That is all too true when it comes to too many of us.  If you take a moment to reflect on some of the people in your life whose attitude is always great, you will very likely find a person for whom his or her position isn’t just a job.

People who exude that special something in their daily interaction with customers or clients or fellow employees may not even realize it, but they take pride in their accomplishment right down to each piece they produce, or to each sales call they make, or to each customer they help.

You can probably already pick out a couple of people you interact with for which this is quite obvious.  On the other hand, you can probably also pick several people with whom you interact for which this doesn’t apply, or at least doesn’t apply often enough.

We are the only person that can control our own approach to the outside world.  We can affect the appearance of a positive attitude even on days when we might not be feeling 100% positive.  That isn’t to say that we ought to only act like we’re positive, but that doesn’t hurt to get us over a day or two where something has caused us to lose a little of our ‘positivity’.attitude

I know of a  collector for Waste Management who is legend among his clients.  I have never heard a bad word about him or his service; actually all I ever hear is how he always goes the extra mile to please his customers most of whom he never even sees on a regular basis.  I see others who always have a smile on their face and who are eager to be of service whether they are scooping potato salad into a container for me, or they are administering an eye exam or telling how much my car repair is likely to cost. I also know those whose attitude leaves something to desire; I do my best to avoid them since I don’t want to be affected by their ‘bad day’.  Put a smile on your face and go face the world; it makes all the difference.

Alan Campbell, Account Executive

021_phixr

To the Class of 2015- Attitude is your key to success

GraduationGraduation ceremonies are occurring or have recently occurred across our state and nation.  Many young men and women will walk away from high schools and colleges with diploma in hand.  Some will move on to the next higher step in education while others will have reached the point of seeking employment or marriage or both.

Employment is something with which our firm is intimately familiar; we are involved in that world daily.  We see the wants and needs of individuals and recognize that employment is among the keys to the satisfaction of those wants and needs.  We also are exposed to the wants and needs of employers and we learn daily from that exposure.

Regardless of the level of education attained, there are important criteria that determine, or help to determine, employability.  Employers seek some basic things in prospective employees almost without regard to the level of education attained.  Employers seek honesty, good judgement, a set of solid human values, and the willingness to work hard, be reliable and be able to perform the duties that are part of the position.  Employers expect that we will be at work on time, that we will do our level best every day, that we will be cheerful with others with whom we work; and, very importantly, that we will be conscious of what the customer expects.  All of these attributes are important no matter in what position we are working from the delivery driver to the company president, the receptionist to the surgeon.

Attitude is a simple thing, but it is a critical thing, too.  If our attitude is not what it should be, we will not be employed for very long…or we won’t be very successful in whatever it is that we’re doing.  Attitude is important regardless of one’s position in life.  With a good attitude, we attract people because they want to be around us.  With a bad attitude, we do the opposite; no one wants to be anywhere near us…and who could blame them?

Alan Campbell, Account Executive

021_phixr

Whatever Happened to the Suggestion Box?

is_there_an_idea_under_your_hat

Have you ever seen or heard something that triggered a great idea? Maybe it was something totally unrelated to your business or to the issue you were wrestling with in your subconscious. But it was that one thing that made a crystal clear impression…and from which you were able to proceed to solve the other issue.

This quotation attributed to the American Poet, Mark Van Doren caught my attention:

“Bring ideas in and entertain them royally, for one of them may be the king.”

It is all too easy in our day-to-day business lives to skip over what might be solid ideas as we move from solving one problem to the next. We stop every once in a while to take some time to simply think, but then all too quickly we move on to the next item on our agenda.

What would happen if we asked our team members to write down ideas as those come to them, and then to bring those to the next staff meeting? Even better what if we gave them the opportunity to set their idea to writing and place it in an “Idea Box” created for your place of business. I suspect that if we gave just one public thank you for a good idea, we would find more and more good ideas being submitted.

As we do this, we do need to keep in mind that every idea submitted must be acknowledged privately by the team leader. If the idea is good ‘as is’ or becomes good with a little further thought, the person originating the idea should be rewarded in some way.

Imagine how much you will have helped the morale of your team as you take the time to discuss their ideas in an earnest manner that makes them happy to be on a contributor to your team, even if the idea didn’t earn them an award. The ‘award’ of being listened to and recognized as a valued, contributing team member will have been reward enough.

Al Campbell Pic

Al Campbell

You Don’t Need a “YES” Man

wrigley

 

This quote from a famous ‘name’ jumped out at me and provoked some serious thought:

When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.
~ William Wrigley Jr.

What struck me was the opposite of what the quotation was telling us.  If we never have competing opinions in our businesses would we be as successful as we could be?  It is so often the differences of opinion that help us to refine our ideas.

There are companies where all employees bow to the positions of the leader of the firm.  How much more successful could those firms become if there were some discussion, at least, about how best to proceed.  Before that healthy internal dialogue can exist, we who lead our companies need to make known that discussion is valued, and that disagreement is not always unhealthy so long as the disagreement is constructive and not destructive.

In the final analysis the boss must make the decisions about the major directions of the company, but wouldn’t it be better if there were healthy discussion, both pro and con, on these decision points before they are made official?  If our employees feel comfortable in expressing somewhat opposing points of view, is that not a better environment than blind obedience?

It takes self-confident person to be able to place an idea on the table and to then invite constructive criticism, but that person is a much more adept leader for being willing to expose his or her ideas to that constructive criticism.  If we don’t get that criticism, maybe we need to step back and apply some introspection.

 

Tom Krist – President

Tom Krist

 

 

Problems Create Opportunities

Problems - Running

Problems Create Opportunities

How many times have you wondered why your company seems to need more problem-solving than other companies with which you are familiar? Those other companies’ leaders may be having the same questions running through their minds too.

BUT… what if your conflicts disappeared? What would you do to improve if you were rid of problems? The chances are that we all might get a bit complacent without a problem now and then that needed resolution.

If we had the time, or made the time, to look back over the issues that have arisen over the past few months, we might well see that those very occurrences, those problems we dislike, were responsible for changes that made the company better.

The various issues that pop up force us to think about what caused them, what we might do to be sure they don’t recur, and what we can do to create an even better company as the result of the exercise we’ve been forced to go through.

In reality, the very problems we dislike are the catalyst for improvement that we might not have considered without the problem.  The ‘good news’ is this: we’ll probably continue to have those opportunities to improve our businesses since it is highly unlikely that we will cease having problems.

The next time a crisis hits your desk, step back and think about how fortunate you are to have this opportunity to make your company better.  Positive attitudes, even about our problems, are good things to cultivate.  If you can create that same mentality in your employees, you’ll have made a big improvement in your company.

 

Tom Krist – President

Tom Krist

 

 

 

Listening to Every Word

 

Hogan Listening

 

Listening to Every Word

Listening is important.  We all know that.  But, many of us don’t demonstrate that we know listening is important.  We are busy preparing a response rather than listening to every word spoken and to watching how the speaker is acting while he or she is talking.  We may miss the opportunity to ask a question to gain further insight into what the person is saying.

People are trying to tell us something when they talk.  Some people are very good at speaking and make the job of listening much easier and certainly more enjoyable.  But those people are, unfortunately, relatively few and far between.  The truly good communicators among us stand out.  We all know those people who simply have a commanding presence about them that compels us to pay close attention.  We also recognize how rare those people are.

If we are to be good listeners, though, we have to be active listeners so that we can help those who may not be gifted speakers deliver the content of their thoughts so that we can benefit from that delivery.  We might give a nod to let them know that we really are listening.  Or we might smile at something they said that had a humorous side to it.  We might lean in closer as the person is talking so they recognize that we are intent on hearing what they’re saying.  We certainly can also ask questions if we need more information from the speaker.

We need to be in full listening mode and not already mentally preparing our response while the other person is still making his or her point.  If we do that, we risk missing an important element of the speaker’s thought that is being expressed.

Stop for a moment and recall the last time you were talking when someone appeared to have blanked out.  You probably saw that, or at least sensed that, and you probably made note of that.  It probably didn’t make you more appreciative of that person.  If that person was selling something, you probably didn’t buy it unless the product or service had an exceptional reputation and you’d already mentally bought it before the presentation began.  In such a case, you might be receptive in spite of the delivery of information.  In that case the product sold itself.  That seldom works in the world of employment interviews.

Listening is important in the business we are in.  We know that and we work hard to be sure we hear what you, our client or candidate, are saying.  We may ask a lot of questions but that is simply so that we can be sure we know precisely what you are saying to us.  If we don’t get that right, there is not as much likelihood that our relationship will go further as each of us hopes that it will.  If you’re not sure that we’re listening as actively as we should be, please be good enough to tell us you don’t know if we heard what you said.

Listening is as important to us if we are interviewing a client or if we are interviewing a candidate.  We work hard at both.  But we can always learn how to be an even better listener.  If you sense that we missed your point, please don’t hesitate to restate the point you were trying to help us understand.

 

Tom Krist – President

Tom Krist