Not Business as Usual: The magic of confidence and belief |

Not Business as Usual: The magic of confidence and belief

John Ridell writes a business column and a fun, Zoomer-Boomer outdoor column for the Sky-Hi News.

As an entrepreneurial manager and leader, you know that you have to be the catalyst for positive and productive actions. But given the onslaught of negative news, many are finding this to be increasingly difficult. Yet the need for it has never been greater. So what is it that some folks have or do that enables them to maintain a noticeable level of positivity and what can you do to get some of whatever it is they have?

Maybe the best place to start is to simply recognize that a consistently positive outlook on life is a choice. While naturally easy for most of us to be a multiplier of pleasantness when everything is going our way, the same cannot be said when the majority of things are going in the wrong direction. Good leaders intuitively know this. They know that a source of their ability to get things done through others is their positive attitude and they work diligently to make sure that this comes through. Think about the last time you were around an upbeat, positive individual and think how this association made you feel. While the quantity of problems didn’t decrease, their magnitude certainly did. Your energy level went up, your optimism went up, and as a result your contribution also went up.

Now think what this same multiplying connection could do for your company. Think what it could mean to have five or ten others feeding off your infectious energy and just what this energizing could produce. Think what this super charged commitment could do to overcome and even capitalize on this difficult time in our business cycle.

It is an interesting phenomenon well known to everyone who has military and/or team sport experience. Both are founded on the belief that groups of dedicated individuals can achieve superior results far and above what any of them could achieve as individuals. The military calls this initial process boot camp; athletic teams call it training. For both, the benefit resides in the mutual and shared sacrifices made in anticipation of the mutual and shared successes. In both groups, definitive leaders emerge that channel the shared discomfort into a collective reason for success. These people are the ones that the others look to when their level of fatigue exceeds their desire. Somehow this positive attitude transmission, this communicated “I believe in you, and you can do this,” allows common performers to be good and good performers to be great.

And this is what every company desperately needs right now. Companies need leaders who are willing to share in the financial pain but who also lay out the clear direction for success and communicate their requirements and expectations. And the really successful ones do it with a style that says “I believe in you, we can do this and thanks.”

If this sounds a lot like coaching it’s because it is. And just like good coaches, successful entrepreneurial managers know that their success is dependent upon a good plan executed with good players. And good coaches know that good players have to believe in their coach and in themselves.

Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turn-arounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring award winning business and sports columns, and serving as VP for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth. He can be contacted at

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