A good attitude can work wonders 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.

By the same token, a bad attitude on the part of your staff members can drag your organization down like a 500-pound anchor.

If you come across Stinkin' Thinkin' in your organization, gain control immediately before it affects your profitability.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.

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.

The Case of the Absentee Owner

Consider the owner of a car dealership who was experiencing his worst slump in 20 years. Sales were off sharply and overhead was eating him alive. The man was an absentee owner, and 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 that the source of the problem was the disgruntled general manager. He spread lies to the employees and fostered discontent throughout the organization. 

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!