Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Good Attitude is a key component at any organization. A cheerful receptionist, a friendly delivery person or a sales clerk with a winning smile can be money in the bank for your business. But by the same token, a bad attitude on the part of your staff members can drag your organization down like a 500-pound anchor.

The economy and certain business cycles bring out negative attitudes. This kind of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ can infect your entire organization. One or two bitter employees can poison the perspective of the whole staff. If you come across Stinkin’ Thinkin’ in your organization, gain control immediately before it affects your profitability.

Even under the best conditions your company can’t afford to turn off customers. But when the economy is soft and you are trying to attract business, Stinking Thinkin’ just makes things worse. What can you do? It’s important to eliminate any staff misconceptions and set the record straight. Bring your employees together and level with them.

Consider the absentee owner of a car dealership who was experiencing his worst slump in 20 years. Sales were off sharply and overhead was eating him alive. When he made one of his infrequent inspections of the business, he was shocked to find the place in disarray – dirty windows, filthy floors and dusty cars on the lot that were unwashed. Employees weren’t even bothering to answer the telephones.

The owner discovered the source of the problem was the disgruntled general manager. He spread lies to the employees and fostered discontent throughout the organization. No wonder sales were off.

The general manager was fired and the owner called a meeting of the entire staff. He began by accepting partial blame. He acknowledged that he contributed to the dealership’s problems by failing to keep in contact on a day-to-day basis. Then, he explained that things were changing. A high standard of performance was now expected from every employee and the owner assured the staff that he was confident they could deliver. He also made it clear that those who didn’t comply would be shown the door. It turned out to be a very motivational speech and negative staff attitudes evaporated on the spot.

The payoff: During the next 10 days, the dealership sold more cars than it had during the previous 30. So if you spot any Stinkin’ Thinkin’ in your organization, try to get rid of it ASAP!