Danger Zones: Behaviors that can damage a business

March 11, 2017|

Employee goofing off in his office

Throughout my career, I have witnessed three key behaviors lead to the slow fade and decline of many careers. These are resisting change, pessimism and complacency — and these negative behaviors have destroyed more than just careers. However, there is good news in knowing these self-defeating traits can be changed and even avoided. The opposite of these negative traits are adaptability, optimism and developmental improvement. In other words, in life, there are “downers” and there are “doers” — and we definitely want to strive to be among the doers for very obvious reasons.

Pessimism: Someone once declared, “I have never met a successful pessimist,” and when we think about it, this is true, especially when we define success from a contribution, rather than an accumulation perspective. We will no doubt face times of discouragement and disappointment, but the question is, will we allow these events to define us and rob us of the thrill and joy of living? For example, those who declare they can’t afford to save will find this goal more difficult to achieve than those who pursue how to save and believe they can. Life is an adventure, and when we have a purpose that is greater than ourselves and reach to benefit others, we are in stronger positions to leverage this optimism for greater impact in our jobs, our finances, our families and throughout our communities.

Resistance: We know change is inevitable. Therefore, if we fight against it, we are in a constant state of conflict and resistance. This, of course, can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, anger and all other sorts of negative consequences. Rather, we must learn to adapt to change. This doesn’t mean we compromise our convictions and truth, but it does mean we don’t embrace stagnation. Rather, adaptability is a powerful asset supportive to longevity — professionally, relationally and even financially. As an example, consider some of the national businesses that are no longer around because they failed to adapt to change. We might not like change, but learning to adapt to it without comprising our values and integrity is a profitable skill to develop.

Complacence: A complacent person is one who doesn’t seek to improve. Rather, they settle for stagnation. This is a costly trait for anyone to adopt, for there is always room for improvement in our lives. In addition, there are various rewards in learning, refining and developing ourselves, our business and others. As an example, any loving parent desires to help his or her children develop and prosper to become contributing members to society and any organization they might be a part of. Therefore, we should remain in a constant state of learning, development and mentoring as we simultaneously commit to bury any form of complacency we may find.

We will most likely have to struggle with any, or all of these traits from time to time, but the key is not allowing ourselves to stay in these danger zones. Perhaps even more difficult is when we cannot escape the pessimistic, complacent and resistant people who might surround us, for we might be forced to interact with them on a daily basis. This, of course, is difficult, because their negative states can begin to rub off on us if we’re not careful.

This is why we must always be aware of our own behaviors, which means we must be the change agents in order to adapt to the situation so that we don’t allow others to zap our optimism or our desire for growth.

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