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Getting Great Attitude

Getting Great Attitude
Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude.
I like fun.
—Colleen C. Barrett

Those of us who have been charged with hiring others, have very likely been taught to “look for someone with a great attitude; you can train them in all the skills they’ll need.”

Good advice, but just the beginning.

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Here’s something to consider; attitude is a result of something. If a prospective candidate comes to you with a great attitude, ready to take on the world (and your version of it) they’ve come from a situation which gave them a positive, enthusiastic, optimistic outlook. You are now the lucky recipient of that bountiful result.

However a great attitude is a fragile thing. It’s a mental state that can change quickly and fairly easily. The question now becomes if the job you hire them into will sustain that person’s morale as that great attitude you perceive they have, or not. Do you offer them a working situation which will keep them in that sunny disposition they came to you with, or are dark clouds on the horizon?

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  • Do you offer them a role in which you will employ all the strengths they come to you with, using their talents every day in a manner which unleashes the creativity of personal growth and success?
  • Do you offer them an organizational culture where the way of work is fun, it fills them with vibrant energy, and it surrounds them with people they’ll admire and enjoy being with?
  • Do you offer them work which they will always feel is important and worthwhile, and thus working at it makes them feel important and worthy? Will what they do for you count for something meaningful?
  • Do you offer them a future-forward vision which will inspire them to learn more and be more, continually striving for what could be, a vision which banishes apathy and complacency?

Great workplace environments are those which are the catalysts of great attitude because they are filled to the brim with hope and promise. They cradle us with a safe place to react as we instinctively or emotionally need to, just to get stuff out and dispensed with, and THEN they provide a framework in which we’ll do the next thing. Is the ‘next thing’ the best possible alternative, one imbued with optimism?

We always have a choice between the positive and negative, and our workplaces can create an abundance of positive choices and a scarcity of negative ones. If most of the choices available to us are overwhelmingly positive they fill us with enthusiasm. We trust that more likely than not, a great result will follow, and we step forward with a great attitude.

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You might think it a lot of responsibility to shape those kinds of workplaces, and yes, I’d have to agree that it is. However you’ll be creating something, so why not that?

Great attitude can deliver a lot of good things. I don’t think that’s something I need to prove to you; just count up the examples you’ve experienced first hand. Go for the gusto and create a working environment which makes more good happen.

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I do agree that it’s far better to start with someone who already has a great attitude, one they’ve packed up and brought to work with them. They have experienced the happiness it brings to their lives, and they will have a desire to keep that fiery joy burning strong and sure. Just remember this; that attitude is not guaranteed to last forever unless you do what it takes to make sure it does.

“Make your optimism come true.”
—Author unknown

Related articles:
Experience required. (Are you sure?)
Looking for the Good in People
The Role of the Manager
Your Final, Essential Hiring Question


Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is the founder of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. Her most recent online collaboration effort is JJLN: the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network.


More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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