In business, when it comes to choosing the right individual for a certain post or promotion, I have always gone for people who have PMA – in other words Positive Mental Attitude.
Leadership and business management comes with its own set of challenges and pressures and it is a common mistake to let these problems and distractions become the major focus – that is why it is so important for senior managers to always look forward rather than backwards.
Of course, it is important for people to have skills, training and experience but I have always been a huge believer in putting attitude above aptitude. You can come fully equipped for a role but without real enthusiasm the best skill-set will count for very little. You can train somebody and give them the tools but you can’t give them the right attitude.
In my view there are two types of people in this world, and those who take the glass half empty approach are simply setting themselves up for failure no matter what targets they set themselves.
In any situation in life, people are looking for leaders to guide and direct them. That is particularly the case when you are going through a difficult or challenging period in the development of a company. Always remember there is only one person watching them and hundreds watching you.
I have always been a believer in leading by example and the nature or character of an organisation is more often than not shaped by the person at the top – that is why it is so important for senior executives to set the right tone and atmosphere.
Staff can instinctively grasp when something is not right within a business and it is vital not to panic and send out the wrong message during those difficult times and tough trading conditions – in other words stay positive.
More importantly, having the right attitude can have a real impact on the business in terms of its performance. There are too many organisations which allow a blame culture to flourish without properly understanding the negative effect it can have on the business.
When I have a bad month in my organisation, I get the senior management team together to discuss the reasons why performance isn't the best. About 20 per cent of the meeting is normally taken up with looking at exactly what went wrong and the rest is spent discussing how to put the problem right.
Of course, it is really important to understand why something has not worked but it is even more important not to get caught up with the process of looking backwards. A firm which prefers to look to the past rather than to the future is always going to struggle in the long term.
The key to real success is an ability to adapt to change, and that will never happen if you approach every challenge with a negative attitude. People with the right mental attitude can always take something positive from a difficult situation and most important of all, will be constantly looking at ways of moving a business on to the next stage of its journey or development.
Source: LinkedIn, James Caan