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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 April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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