Next In Line Is Not Always the Best Choice

All of us really add or detract to our professional and personal lives based on our own thoughts.  Thoughts form the rheostat where its programming influences what and how we achieve.  Our actions are the result of input from our conscious and subconscious mind.  If we feed our actions with doubt, worry, and discouragement that is the kind of day we will have.  If we adjust our rheostat forward to thoughts filled with achievement, we can count on that kind of day.  Our countenance, reactions and general output is a reflection of that approach.

Problem is; most people don’t think this applies to them.  I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have life’s issues, whether large of small that have to be dealt with on a day to day basis.  And yet, if you ask, chances are the response will be a guise.

Allow me to give your imagination an exercise. Consider your mind a factory; a busy workshop of action and production.  Your mind is a thought factory.  On that internal assembly line it produces thousands of thoughts.  Production in your mental factory is under the charge of two supervisors.  The names on their identification badges are Mr. Advance and Mr. Apathy.  Mr. Advance as you’d imagine, manages the production of positive thoughts. At the pull of a lever, wholesome, encouraging, reassuring plans and positive ideas roll down the line and into the showroom.

That other supervisor, Mr. Apathy, has objectives too, to manufacture negative, depreciating, worrisome thoughts.  Both supervisors are technically well qualified for the job.  Mr. Advance specializes in producing reasons why they can handle whatever comes their way.  Mr. Apathy however, earned his degree at Indifference University.  He is full of reasons why something can’t be done.  Nonetheless, both supervisors are obedient.  They wait for your direction to snap to attention.

Deliver a positive signal and Mr. Advance throws himself into action.  Pulling all the right levers, Mr. Advance operates production with one encouraging, edifying thought after another, getting the job done with those he / she supervises.  As long as production is under his / her firm control, there’s not even the slightest hint of apathy in the factory.

Mr. Apathy however, sees a negative signal, which he or she would prefer to call ‘reality’ and he or she too is off and running.  At peak production, Mr. Apathy’s assembly line puts out discouraging, bad-news thoughts.  He or she will soon have you convinced that you can’t or won’t or shouldn’t.  Given sufficient time, he / she will drain the energy around him or her, stifle confidence, and transform others into a moping group of what’s-in-it-for-me.

Thoughts, positive or negative, grow stronger when fertilized with constant repetition, which may explain why so many who are apathetic, stay that way, and why others who are naturally enthusiastic continue to be so, even in times of difficult circumstances.  Being a winner is a matter of right thinking (approach), not intelligence, age, or position.

How would your car perform if every morning you put a handful of dirt in the tank?  The fine-tuned engine would soon be coughing, sputtering and eventually would not start.  The same is true of life.  Those who believe that our professional lives are separate from our personal lives are mistaken.  Hire and install a supervisor that has a wrong personal life and they will operate in that same fashion at work.  What’s worse, they will influence those they supervise.  Thoughts about oneself and attitudes toward others that are narrow, destructive, and abrasive, produce wear and tear on the environment around them and send your business off the road while others drive past.

Recently, seated in the customer waiting area, while waiting for an oil change, the person in the next Wi-Fi booth struck up a conversation with me.  We discovered we both consulted to businesses.  He to public companies, me to privately held.  The topic soon turned to the general premise of this article.  He cited ‘Chic-fil-A’ as an example of ‘hiring hard’ in order to find the evidence of ‘Mr. Advance’ in the nature of applicants.  Also, I just finished an article on a flight to Charlotte that featured the CEO of Delta Airlines, Richard Anderson and the President of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Richard Branson.  Both spoke to the culture of their respective organizations and the imperative to find and hire people, who at their core, desire to ensure the customer experience was second to none.  Mr. Apathy wouldn’t make the cut.

You need only one kind foreman in your factory.  The name is Mr. Advance, and he or she is anxious to assist you.  In fact, they are immediately available.  Problem is; they don’t wear a sign on their forehead clearly identifying their advancing or apathetic nature.  You have to invest the time to find them and you don’t have to pay above market to get them.  And, if Mr. Apathy has been too engaged as a supervisor on your assembly line, fire him or her!  You’ll be astounded by how smoothly the plant will run under new advancing leadership.

To read case examples and the proper screening and hiring methodology, please read my article “Hire Too Fast and Fire Too Slow”,

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