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You are not here to merely make a living.
You are here in order to enable the world to live
more amply, with greater vision,
with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.
In my career as a sales executive, corporate trainer, and professional speaker, I have spoken with a lot of people in every kind of industry and company. I'm always asking them, "What kind of training do you need? Why do you want me to speak to your group or come to your company?" And because I'm known as "Dr. Attitude," the answer is almost always the same: "Our folks need to improve their attitude."
"Keith, we've got some great employees and managers, and some really high performance goals," a manager once told me. "But the people just aren't cutting it. They're not getting the job done to the levels that we need. We're missing our targets, and we figure an attitude adjustment could help."
When I looked at the company, I agreed that a lot of the employees had less than great attitudes. "Sure, I can get them motivated, and I can show them how to keep a positive attitude no matter what," I told this manager. "But what are you and the company planning to do with these super-motivated people when I'm done? What kind of training are we going to offer to maintain this level of motivation and success?"
He looked at me in confusion. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"Attitude is only half of the equation," I said. "Performance comes from attitude, but continuous improvement—going from good to better and better tobest—is an ongoing process. Your employees have to connect to the company's goals and its mission. They also have to connect to one another and to you as their leader. A great attitude helps make it easier to connect, but all the effort can't come from one side—either the employees or the company.
"You've tried to connect from the company side with performance goals and mission statements and bringing in someone like me," I continued. "But you've got to remember that to connect you need to grab people's hearts, not just their minds. What kind of positive, uplifting relationships are you going to create with your employees so they'll go the extra mile for you? Because that's what it's going to take. Attitude will give them the emotion; but connecting with their team, the company, and the reasons for wanting it to succeed will give them the drive to produce ongoing outstanding results."
As much as we all want to succeed, what we really should be striving for is the power to connect. The ability to connect lies at the core of both personal and professional success. When you connect, it's like mixing air into the gasoline in your car. You may think your car runs on gas, but it doesn't. For the gas to make the engine run, it has to be mixed with air before it's fed into the carburetor. That air is connection, and attitude is the spark plug that brings fire to the mixture. When you have the right fuel (the relationship, the purpose, the goal, the idea, etc.) and you add air (connect) to that fuel, then the spark of a winning attitude will supercharge your performance, and it will power you to success.
We're Born to Connect
The drive to connect is part of our DNA. When children are born, they must connect with their mothers for food and care. And we're just talking about physical connection; our need for emotional connection is just as important, if not more important, for our very survival. In fact, if babies don't receive emotional connection from caregivers, they can wither away. It's called failure to thrive syndrome, and it can kill or emotionally cripple babies who grow up in institutions or other situations where they don't receive the love and connection they need.
We'll do almost anything to feel linked to someone else. Did you see the movie Cast Away? Tom Hanks' character, Chuck, is marooned on a desert island for seven years. He manages to care for his physical needs—starting a fire, getting food and shelter, and so on. But then he runs up against his biggest challenge: loneliness. He has no one to connect to other than himself. It gets so bad that he paints a face and puts grass "hair" on a volleyball, and he names this companion Wilson. Wilson is his only friend for all the years Chuck is on the island. Chuck talks to Wilson, argues with him, makes up with him, laughs with him—just as if Wilson were a real person. When Chuck finally escapes on a raft, he takes Wilson with him. And when Wilson drifts off the raft while Chuck is sleeping, we see Chuck's unbearable pain when he wakes up and finds his "friend" gone.
Our basic human need to connect can be a force for good or evil. In fact, people will do a lot of really stupid things simply to connect. If you read about kids who get involved with gangs, most of the time it's not because they're attracted to a life of crime. It's not even because they feel more powerful. It's because the gang gives those kids an overwhelming feeling of connection, of being part of something. On the other hand, recent social studies have shown that even in the poorest neighborhoods, strong, positive social connections like the kind provided by church groups, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other organizations can result in lower crime rates, less drug use and teen pregnancy, and better performance in school by kids in the neighborhood.CONNECT
Posted June 27, 2014
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