Becoming a successful business owner begins with your belief that your business, your product and your people can be great.
Great businesses are built on possibilities, on what could be.
Positive thinking is creative and energizing. Thinking positive thoughts about your business needs to be in the very fabric of your business. Positive thinking is contagious, and it needs to be nurtured at every corner.
Beware the “negative Nancy”
BEWARE: There is nothing that will suck the life out of your firm more than a negative Nancy.
Think about some of the people in your life that are negative:
“That will never work.”
“That’s not a good idea.”
“I can’t make that happen on this budget.”
Negative people kill ideas, kill results, and kill collaboration. Your business will die if you allow negative people to be its organs.
A certified paralegal with years of experience working in the professional legal world with top notch writing skills and expert computer software literacy does not compare to a smart person with a great attitude.
Hire good attitude and fire bad attitude regardless of experience.
6 Benefits of Workplace Positivity
The benefits of positivity in the workplace include:
1. Employee Retention
No one wants a workplace where negativity and complaints reign. The more you fill your office with individuals that believe in your firm’s mission, and carry it out with a spirit of positivity and praise, the happier your entire team will be.
You cannot give a negative person a high enough salary, flexible enough hours, or too much vacation. A negative person will never be satisfied.
2. Freedom to Fail
In the professional legal work environment your clients, co-workers, and supervisors often have the following unreasonable expectation: you will never make a mistake.
Legal professionals spend vast quantities of time trying to avoid mistakes that might lead to angry clients, bar complaints, malpractice claims, and loss of business. Most lawyers really care about their work product and diligently strive for the best results they can achieve for their clients. However, focusing on avoiding failure distracts your team for zeroing in on success.
A legal team with a positive attitude is concerned ultimately with creating systems designed to produce great case outcomes; not systems primarily aimed at eliminating mistakes.
The best possible outcome is a better goal than a mistake free outcome.
- Note well: This is not an attempt to advocate reckless behavior. Rather, the goal is to eliminate mistakes by creating the best possible practices through the process of trial and error.
3. New Ideas
When you have a positive mindset, creativity and innovation become the norm. Your team will feed off of the energy that comes with being a part of the brainstorming and problem solving process.
Positive people will work together collaboratively to build something bigger than themselves. Positivity promotes harmony; negativity results in ever widening chasms among your team.
If you build a team with players who believe that they can create something magnificent, you will be able to change (more importantly improve) the legal marketplace.
A business of believers measures success in the way they improve the lives of their clients and as a result massive energy will be thrown at how to deliver results better, faster, cheaper, smarter, than what currently exists.
6. Referral Business
Positive energy is contagious. When other professionals and clients see the energy your team exhibits when your firm tackles a problem, they will be attracted to that energy and recommend others to join the experience. Positive energy feels good and people in the community will want to be a part of it.
How do you create an office with positive energy?
Should you go buy posters with motivational quotes and hang them around the office? Try to find an uplifting office theme song to play each morning when you open? Spray champagne all over the office each time you sign a new client?
Positivity in your office starts with YOU.
Don’t expect anyone else to shape the mindset of your law firm. Don’t expect that cheerleading gimmicks alone will bring positive energy to your team. If you are the leader of the organization then you are the primary influencer of the culture and the organizational attitude of your firm.
The first attitude you need to check is your own.
Improve your attitude by:
Ingesting positive thoughts.
Read books and articles on positive thinking.
If you are not a person that sees the glass half full, then the way to change that outlook is by seeing the world through the lens of people that do. So put on the positivity glasses by finding authors that exemplify positive thinking.
Go on a thought diet of positivity . . . every day!
Complaints are just the vocal expression of negative thoughts. When you complain you are just letting negative thoughts slip from your mind into the outside world through your mouth.
Eliminating complaining may not immediately exterminate negative thoughts but that result will inevitably come. Complaining is a form of indulging your negative thoughts. You are giving your negative thoughts the ability to express themselves.
Shut them up (use duct tape if necessary). Starve you brain of negativity.
Blaming is the twin brother of complaining.
Every time you complain you are really putting the responsibility on someone or something else and attempting to relieve yourself of responsibility. Once you start complaining about your circumstances finding a scapegoat will immediately follow. Take ownership of your life by taking responsibility in every situation.
Speak words of praise in the office.
How many meetings have you had at the office to fix a problem or to address a client complaint?
Probably too many to count.
How many meetings have you had for the sole purpose of celebrating the good work of an employee or your entire team? A positive office mindset is about pushing the attitude needle toward positivity so don’t let opportunities to celebrate your team’s (and your own) creativity and innovation.
Celebrate good times, c’mon!
Surround yourself with positive people.
Both in your own office and in your professional associations develop relationships with people that have a positive attitude about their business and their life.
Due to the stress of financial pressures, unreasonable clients, difficult cases and other obstacles in practicing law, many in the legal profession struggle with depression. We need to create a happier profession because . . . well no one else is going to.
If you hang around pessimistic people, you will be guilty of negativity by association.
Hanging out with positive people will enrich your outlook on life.
Culture is key to building a law firm that lasts.
Designing your firm correctly includes designing your firm’s culture. If you allow negativity into the office your legal business will rot from the inside out.
There is no better foundation on which to build your law firm than the solid support of positivity.