Attitude has an impact on everything you do - especially in a turbulent economy.

Does attitude really matter? YES! This includes both your business life and your personal life. Attitude can be either positive or negative and both types can change the way you think, feel and act. To be successful it is imperative that you embrace a positive attitude as much as possible. This is probably one of the most significant factors in determining your success.

During my years as a business consultant I have worked with and observed leaders, entrepreneurs and high level executives who seem to create success almost as if it were a gift. But I have also observed those who have to struggle to grow their business or even just earn the respect and trust of their employees. Without a doubt, those who seem to create success as a second nature are those who project and maintain a positive attitude at all times. These are people who turn negative consequences into opportunities.

A positive attitude is not accidental

Successful entrepreneurs know how to create a positive attitude and positive motivation for themselves. They don’t just wait for it to happen. Every day is a new day and how you act and think during that day is determined by your attitude. Success can only be realized by our actions, and our actions are controlled by how we think and feel. This composes our attitude. Consequently we must focus our efforts toward success with the right kind of attitude - an attitude of confidence and conviction. To change your circumstances, to deal with the turbulent economic challenges we currently face, you must look inwardly first. That is where your power lies. You cannot depend on other people to make you effective and successful. That is up to you. Success and effectiveness is not contingent upon anything but your personal control over your attitude.

Don't bury your head in the sand

Having a positive attitude is not the same as blind optimism. It doesn’t mean that you bury your head in the sand and ignore problems and challenges. You must acknowledge reality but you don’t have to let it control you. You must act accordingly. The “Law of Attraction” only works if you do something positive to create success. You need to determine exactly what really matters to being successful in your own right. This is a means of defining your values as a business and as a leader. Effective leaders and successful people have the unique ability to articulate these values and get people to believe in them and trust them.

Don't try to be all things to all people

In the midst of the economic crisis that we are currently facing, you just won’t be able to do everything. It is important to focus on a few things that your company can do well. That means focusing on best practices. Figure out exactly what your competitive advantage is and what your value propositions are and put all your effort and attention on those specific things. Don’t create peripheral noise by trying a bunch of new things. This can only create a mode I call “Panic Response Management.”

Focusing on the right things will be a great boost to your positive attitude and the attitude of your employees. During turbulent economic times of change, fear and ambiguity, it is difficult to stay focused on the right things, unless we know what the right things are. Your business and personal values combined with your leadership skills will give you the insight, the direction and the courage to move forward.

You don't have to have all the answers

Remember, you are not a super human. You don’t have to have all the answers. However, you must display confidence in yourself, your team and your employees even when you don’t have the answer.  This is especially important during difficult economic times.

Successful leaders take the time to listen, imagine and investigate numerous alternatives when they don’t have the answer. With the involvement of their management team and their employees they forge creative solutions to even the most difficult problems. They challenge their people to stretch, go beyond their previous boundaries and think outside the box. Successful leaders feed off their people and allow their people to feed off of them. They give credit where credit is due. They give recognition as a means of gaining respect. They believe individuals can make a difference. Through these methods they learn to create new insights and possibilities.

Weed the garden

Successful leaders live and project the affirmation of statements such as “We can solve this problem,” or “Let’s concentrate on the root cause, find a solution and not indulge in self pity.” This positive attitude and affirmation must become the foundation of your management team’s leadership model. There are always a few who will readily tell you, “It can’t be done,” and “You’ll never make it.” You can’t afford to have managers with this attitude on your team. Now is the time to “weed the garden.” Surround yourself only with supporters. Good team members will help you work on contingency plans and help you address challenges head on without pounding you with discouragement.

The Pygmalion Effect

Have you ever heard the term “a self-fulfilling prophecy”? That is what the Pygmalion Effect is all about. You begin to talk so negatively about your sales challenges that you begin to believe in your own whining. Calling salespeople whiners may very well tick some of you off. Sorry, but I too have been a salesperson all my life and the fact is, many of us do whine. This is especially true when times get tough. One of the problems with all the talk about recession is that once people believe there is a recession, they start to feel negative about their business prospects. They tend to see what they believe rather than believing what they see. This creates the Pygmalion Effect. Once you convince yourself that we are in a recession, you tend to only notice articles, comments and statistics that validate your thoughts.

Every single day you can find people sitting around bars and lounges talking about how bad the world is. They whine about the economy, the competition, the government, the company and even the boss. The liquor industry capitalizes on this phenomenon by calling it “Happy Hour.” In reality it is nothing more than a “pity party.” Successful leaders don’t participate in this self-fulfilling prophecy.  Instead of recounting all the problems and challenges, they focus on what has been accomplished and what has been done right.

Use this concept and at the end of each week and each month outline the successes that were created and share those successes with all your employees. This includes even the most insignificant wins. A positive is a positive and they far outweigh the negatives. This will help reinforce that positive culture that is so critical to success.

Let them know you believe

“I believe in this company or I wouldn’t be here. I believe we can be successful even during the most difficult economic circumstances or I wouldn’t be here.  I believe in our ability to change the direction of this company or I wouldn’t be here. But I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart that I believe in you. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here. I have faith in you. I believe in you and I’ll be by your side as we win this battle together. We will be successful and gain market share in spite of the tough economic environment.”

This is an excerpt from a speech that a close friend of mine gave many years ago during our last recession. His words still have great meaning and value today. Feel free to use them when addressing your employees - but only use  them if you can speak from the heart.