By Amy McDonald, FONA President
The power of positivity. It’s the topic of countless books and articles. And it’s something I’ve found myself thinking about lately. I’ve realized something: Companies that are high-growth innovators — the disruptors in business — they often practice positivity. They may do it unconsciously, but they do it. This is rooted in something, and I think it’s belief. High growth companies have a positive outlook because they have a strongly ingrained belief in themselves, in their colleagues, in their mission – and in the idea that they have the resources they need to succeed. As a leader of a high-growth disruptor, I’ve seen firsthand the power in positivity.
Think about it. You have to be an optimist to start a business, and you have to have a team of optimists to shake up an industry and disrupt the status quo. It’s risky! Entrepreneurship means that you imagine what could be, without a focus on what could go wrong. We’ve been in the room — maybe it’s a strategy session or brainstorming — when the flow is moving and people are excited, and there’s that person who pipes up with every idea with “that won’t work,” or “we already tried that in the past.” It ruins the momentum, right? Having a positive outlook means dreaming big first and then grounding yourself in the logistical execution.
I talked to the FONA Family just the other day in our monthly Employee Meeting. How do you accomplish something huge? Little by little. (How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.) Positivity means doing those little “right things” every day, to move forward. Instead of setting ourselves to fail trying to do it all at once, we have to ask: What am I going to do today? What am I going to do this week?
Connected to this, I believe we can truly “train the brain.” That doesn’t mean ignoring anything negative – this is business, there will be budget gaps and “bad” months. But when you address and talk about those things — acknowledge and frame it as a temporary situation. Those big and great accomplishments, like reaching goals and winning awards? Make a big deal out of them! Celebrate. At FONA, we take celebrating seriously. They’re a regular occurrence, and it really does make positivity contagious.
The scarcity mindset is that toxic focus on what we don’t have, instead of what we do. I think in business, we need to choose to come from a mindset of abundance. Encourage your teams to approach every challenge with the belief that, “I have everything I need to get this done.” In the end, you will find that you uncover the best, easiest and most innovative way to, in fact, get it done. One example: remove the word “resources” from your vocabulary. Resources (cringe.) It evokes the idea of constraint, of limitation, the reasons why something WON’T get done. If you focus on resources, you give yourself a pass – you avoid practicing ingenuity. These days, in high-growth companies – no one gets a pass on avoiding innovation.
Ok, ok it’s a topic that I’ve mentioned quite often. And that’s failure. In fact, my resolution for 2019 was to fail more. (Read here.) I’m not afraid of failure. My job as a leader is to know and accept the realities of business, failures and all. But it takes positivity to fail and have the belief that you can learn and grow from it. It’s my job to recognize realities, yes, but it’s also my job to push for those stretch goals, because I know – and entire FONA family knows – that we can do it. The best way to “not accomplish something” is to not believe that you can in the first place.
Belief in the people around you and belief in what you’re doing. It can get you literally anywhere! That’s why as a leader and as a business, we practice positivity.
How does positivity reveal itself in your business?
Thanks for reading,