I sense that everyone is winding down and I must admit that I feel in need of some good old fashioned R&R. But more than that I need to change my pattern of working and allow myself a bit of off piste, go with the flow, fun. One thing is for sure though I am going to be just as motivated as ever but just in doing something else.

One (important) thing that I will be focusing on in 2011 is working with professional practice clients on the attitude of their people (including and especially partners!) to a whole host of issues. The aim being to advance structural change and profitability and building a business where the firm’s people come first. Yes people first and clients less first.

At the moment my sense is that whether it is linked to pay and conditions, the paucity of the right type of work or not being appreciated, that a lot of people are massively fed up, and who would blame them. In colloquial terms their MOJO is shot.

It sounds hokey but energy begets energy, WOW begets WOW, optimism begets optimism, hunger for success begets hunger for success and most importantly a positive attitude begets a positive attitude. Now I am not suggesting that people should be self-delusional and go through some early morning ritual like Tai Chi. Any self-acclamation like: “Think Positive” has to be backed up with action but if you are down in the dumps or can’t see the purpose behind your actions then you are hardly going to want to engage.

However, I think it always worth remembering one of the most moving statements on attitude – that of Viktor Frankl (a Holocaust survivor):

“The last of the human freedoms – the ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

Tom Peters also deals with this brutally in Recession 46 – the Secrets and Strategies to the Gut Wrenching Downturn.

The two that are most apposite:

#6. “You dig deep, deeper, deepest – and always bring a good attitude to work.”

#11: “You shrug off shit that flows downhill in your direction – buy a shovel or a “preworn” raincoat on eBay.”

Now I jolly well know as someone who worked hard for 14 years to build a professional reputation in the face of some challenging issues that it is easier said than done but one thing that I learnt early on is that our emotional intelligence (of which attitude is a part) is critical to building your brand, a team or inspiring confidence in your clients. Just think about it: if you have a negative attitude is anyone going to be attracted to working for you or within your team and won’t your clients pick up on your negativity and be left wondering a bit about your approach to their case?

Just think of the position outside of the office. We like to spend time with people who make us feel good.

If you are used to playing a waiting game on the the latest developments or the market then fine but there is no reason why you shouldn’t bring the very best attitude you can to work. Don’t think this is being selfish and only focused on you. Sometimes to restore our sanity we need to retrench. But if you need reassurance on this take your lead from Gandhi:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I would love to get some feedback on this post. Do you think that more people are becoming passively disengaged with the profession? On one level they may look happy but underneath they are just as miserable or disaffected as everyone else but just have a better defensive mechanism to deal with the situation.

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