Don’t Worry, Be Happy | How A Positive Attitude Improves Performance

by Phil C. Solomon on February 7, 2013

in Positive Attitude

Attitude Isn’t The Only Thing, It’s Everything!


attitudeHow does this post relate to healthcare finance or revenue cycle management? If you are a hiring authority in a hospital or practice, you might be surprised to know how important having a good attitude really is. A recent study of over 20,000 new hires at Fortune 500 companies, nearly half of them failed within the first 18 months on the job. And 89 percent of those failures stemmed from “attitudinal reasons.”

Hiring the best and brightest people isn’t always the best idea. It will backfire if your candidate has a bad attitude. Attitudes affect every aspect of the work people perform on the job. When seeking to hire someone for your division, team, or group, be warned that people with bad attitudes can fool you during the interview process. Make sure you invest enough time during the hiring process to observe their true personality.

If you have the time, let a candidate sit with your top staff so you/they can observe their true behavior. Have your staff look for traits that may be more negative than positive. Have them report back to you with their observations.

One bad hire will create a ripple effect throughout your organization. For example, if your registration staff person has a bad attitude, and is a glass half empty thinker, what type of interaction do you think they will have with your patients? The result will be poor patient interactions and a loss of patient good will. Poor attitudes lead to apathy. Apathy leads to making mistakes. Mistakes will cost your organization in more ways than just dollars and cents. A negative employee can poison your entire team and the rest of their co-workers.

How often do you think about your own attitude and how it affects every aspect of your life? Regardless of the circumstances, you are in charge of your own attitude. A great example of how one man took control of his own attitude during a very difficult time in his life is Randy Pausch. In his book The Last Lecture, he chronicled how he kept a positive attitude while he was battling pancreatic cancer. He lost the battle with cancer on July 25th, 2008.  His outlook on life is very interesting.

Attitude“I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’ If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.” ― Randy PauschThe Last Lecture

If  you ever doubt that you can survive a crisis, and even flourish while you are going through difficult times, read this book. If you take responsibility for your own positive attitude, you might be surprised how much you can improve your life and have a positive affect on everyone around you.

According to author and sales expert Colleen Francis, patients, vendors, co-workers and supervisors judge you by your attitude. That extends to your entire group, department or team. Francis says, the people around you mirror your own attitude. So how do you improve your attitude? Consider embracing these five steps to help create your own positive attitude:

5 Positive Attitude Changes to Improve Life

1. Take responsibility for your own attitude

Francis advises readers that we all have the opportunity to choose our own attitudes, even when things aren’t going our way. By changing your physical behavior and adopting a more positive outlook, you can help the people surrounding you improve their own attitudes.

2. Set measurable, achievable goals

As a manager, set goals for your staff that are better than their best, but believable. Do the same for yourself.

3. Hire people with positive energy

According to former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, a team member’s attitude in the morning represents the benchmark they should strive to hit throughout the day. If you let a team member stay grumpy before their first coffee break or before lunchtime, you’re sending the message that you expect a “come from behind” win every afternoon. In his book, “Winning,” Welch writes that people with positive energy can start and end each day with enthusiasm.

4. Don’t sacrifice attitude for “smarts”

Author and educator Roger Martin told Harvard Business Review readers that he once hired only “smart” candidates. Martin scouted top scholars from major business schools, determined that he could teach interpersonal skills to hires who seemed awkward or unhappy. After many of those high potential employees failed in their careers, Martin sought candidates he deemed less “brittle.” Those successful workers heeded feedback, sought professional development opportunities, and they improved morale on their teams despite their slightly lower GPAs.

Some say that the “A” students end up working for the “C” students. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, you just have to have a positive can do attitude!

5. Share your expectations with your team

Be clear with your expectations and make sure your teammates and subordinates understand that “Stinkin Thinkin (quote by Zig Zigler)” won’t  cut it as far as you are concerned. People around you must drink the “positive cool aid”. If they don’t, show them the door!

If you are not in a leadership position where you can show someone the door if they don’t have a good attitude, stay as far away from them as you possibly can. Don’t listen to the negative thoughts of others.

I leave you with this compelling quote that I believe captures everything you need to know about having a positive attitude: “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”Mahatma Gandhi.

The concept for this post was adapted from Hire Positive People to Build a Thriving Business by Joe Taylor Jr. at Small Business Computing and Paul Shread, the editor in chief of the IT Business Edge network as seen in Time Business and Money.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shane Irving December 19, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve hired and mentored I can’t remember how many people in 5 countries over 20 plus years and attitude wins hands down.
Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. Zig Ziglar


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: