Attitude

“A good attitude doesn’t come from having the best of everything in life, it comes from making the best of everything in life” Joyce Meyer.

Attitude, good or bad will either enhance or damage our business.

Some years ago I heard Marks and Spencer ran an on-line recruitment process. It was all-electronic; with no proper person at the end of the phone. Whether they still use the system now I don’t know, but back then I decided to call up to see what selection of words were being used.

Nearly every question was testing, and assessing attitude. The listener was given a scenario, choosing their multiple-choice answer. Arguably we callers were not applying for a management role or to be a pilot – but never the less I felt there was full recognition that attitude matters! Each and every member of staff’s attitude counts; one attitude affects the whole.

Whilst serving 5 years on the gdb (CADIA) Executive Council I remember a particular conversation with an MD around recruitment.  He openly said once a year he flew a small team abroad to recruit potential ‘future stars’ from a university.

“Compared to UK students, overseas grades are on-par with the UK market – but we have lost business, impacting our P & L, through bad attitude’s displayed by UK students.” I knew this business owner well enough to see he was not happy with the situation either, but as he said, “I’m in business, I’m not a charity” meaning his experience had led him to recruit abroad.

As an ex teacher I am passionate about supporting education as a whole. Many student leaving education have a good, even exemplar attitude, inspiring many to aim high and give their all. But there is a gap. Well established in the business world I am highly motivated to support where I can – rooted in the importance of attitude.

Over the last 6 months I have been working closely with educators,  also at times the council supporting the Apprenticeship Scheme. During this time I have been blown away by the dedication of most staff coupled with the quality of candidates walking through the door. Conversely I have sometimes felt dismayed by what I have seen in the eyes of some candidates.

In 2013 we took the family to Poland. Some may say an odd trip to celebrate our anniversary but for years I have wanted to know more about Auschwitz and Schlinder’s Factory.

I heard so much about our eyes. On our return I read Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”. What a book! Again, what stood out for me, continuing from the tour of Auschwitz, was the commentary on eyes.

Looking into some of the student’s eyes I saw what the tour guides and Frankl were referring to. It’s all about HOPE. Please don’t think for one moment I am drawing a parallel between the abhorrent treatment of the Jews and our students – no, I am referring to the importance of Hope.

When there is loss of hope it affects our attitude. The eyes can reflect this loss – they stop shining becoming dull and opaque.  Whilst speaking at the Apprenticeship meetings my internal dialogue kept saying, “If this was running in India there would be thousands queuing before the doors opened – yet why are we struggling to get a proper response from students here?” Numbers in the room were dwindling.

I do wonder if the answer lies around hope – or more poignantly, lack of it. Finger pointing is not the way forward. As a parent I include myself when saying we have to take responsibility for what we have helped perpetuate in the UK. I am of course speaking about a minority, but I can remember myself having low confidence and low sense of hope. My attitude was very different to now. I am a nicer person now than I was then!

So what, or who helped me? Howard Gardner, an American psychologist has written prolifically about multiple intelligences. His work is known in education – those who know me see me regularly bring his thinking to my presentations and workshops.

Gardner identifies 8 Attributes – I always refer to them as intelligences. For me, once I understood them it changed my life. I started to understand EQ (emotional intelligence). Managing my relationship with others and myself changed my thinking; which in-turn filled me with hope. This sense of hope empowered me to have a better attitude.

The most important relationship we will ever have is with ourselves. We can’t get away or hide. So to leave you with the familiar words of Zig Zigler, “It is our Attitude, not Aptitude that determines our Altitude.”