Your Organizational Health Matters!

All you have in an organization is peoples’ performance – the main contributor to good performance is the attitude of each individual toward their work!


From the time a person is born, about the only thing she/he will have total control over is her/his attitude!

What is an ‘Attitude to Work’?

  • An attitude to work is a combination of a person’s thoughts and feelings about purposes and goals, their own and others!
  • Attitudes are crucial because they dictate how an individual views things that happen to her/him at work.
  • Behaviour is a function of how we think about the circumstances we esperience:

Circumstances →Thinking → Feelings → Behaviour

  • You cannot see an attitude – people ‘inferattitude from the behaviour they see – behaviour is the outward expression of attitude!
  • The neat thing about human behaviour is we can choose our response to the things (circumstances) that happen to us.
  • We can adjust our thinking, and this changed thinking will change how we feel about a circumstance and how we behave as a result.
  • It is this control over our thinking that differentiates us from animals (at least it can, but this really doesn’t explain professional wrestling, does it?).


Attitudes are Learned!

As we mature, we learn different ways to think about the circumstances we encounter at work:

Negative people have learned to react negatively about their circumstances.

As a result, they feel angry or upset by the things that happen to them and behave in ways others judge to be negative.

Negiative people usually resort to blaming and justifying when things go wrong – and are not good problem solvers.

A negative person does not adjust her/his thinking and just ‘reacts’.

Positive people have similarly learned to be positive – they adjust their thinking about circumstances and approach them from a positive viewpoint.

As a result, they behave (and perform) differently than negative people.


For Example

  • I play golf! There is no more frustrating a game than golf!
  • I have learned (through painful experience) that when I approach the game positively, and look hard for the things I enjoy (fresh air, the feel of a well-hit ball, camaraderie with other golfers) I have a good time no matter what my score.
  • On the other hand, if I get “score conscious“, I get defensive about my game. I try to avoid mistakes instead of focusing on what to do to hit the ball correctly, and I have a miserable time.
  • It’s a conscious choice. I have to make this choice before and during each and every round of golf. Even after playing the game for many years, I still have to work very hard to adjust my thinking before and during every round.

Let’s continue with the golf analogy:

  • Attitude is about how you think and feel about your purpose and your goals.
  • Before every round of golf, I have to focus my thoughts on what I want to achieve in the round.
  • I still want to score well, but over the years camaraderie and fresh air have become more important to me.

Lets review:

My Purpose:

To obtain as much enjoyment as possible out of every round of golf.

My Goals (in priority order):

(1) To enjoy my friends.

(2) To enjoy the golf course.

(3) To shoot the best score I can.


Continual Attitude Adjustment

  • This is the attitude I try to take to the course.
  • I try to have my mind properly focused on this before each round.
  • Then, when the inevitable happens (I hit it my golf ball out of bounds, bounce one between my legs or any of the other dumb golf shots I’m quite capable of producing) I try to adjust my thinking.
  • I try to focus on goals (1) and (2) and on my purpose (to enjoy myself) and not be too concerned about my score.
  • If I forget, or get lazy, or start feeling sorry for myself, I slip into negative ways of thinking. When this happens, I feel frustrated and angry and my attitude goes further down the tubes!
  • Result: I don’t enjoy the round of golf!


So What Does Attitude Have to Do with Performance?


  • A person’s attitude to their organization is really a combination of their thoughts and feelings about the purpose of their work (and others’ purposes) and their work goals.
  • If leaders work with people to ensure they:
Know why their work is important.

Understand how their work links with the bigger picture for their work group and organization.

Then, these people are more likely to view their work positively.

  • If that happens, they are also more likely to produce behaviours (performance) that enhance organizational success.
  • A side benefit is that positive people often influence others positively.
  • On the other hand, if leaders try to control people, then people will adopt negative attitudes and behaviour towards their work and the organization.
  • Such behaviour detracts from the performance of others who cannot help but be negatively influenced by such an attitude.
  • This is why negative attitudes and behaviours in organizations must be confronted and dealt with – left alone these attitudes and behaviours poison team and organizational performance.

Message for Organizations

  • To change behaviour (performance) in an organization we first need to understand peoples’ thinking. 
  • We said in a Previous Post that organizations often go about it all wrong.
  • They start with behaviour, and try to use rewards and punishments to change behaviour (eg: the search for the perfect ‘incentive’ scheme).
  • The best they can do when they start with behaviour is produce short-term results. Once the reward or punishment is removed, the behaviour returns to what it was.
  • Instead, when performance is not what is required, we need to start with what the person (s) are thinking.
  • Organizations need to recruit people who have a track record of continually and successfully adjusting their attitude toward work.

Lasting change can only come about when an organization positively influences each person’s attitude – their thinking about the purposes and goals for their work.

If you are interested in looking deeper at Motivation check out our other posts on this subject: