The driver who zooms up the right-turn-only lane, only to merge into the rest of traffic at the last minute.

The colleague who manages to move every item on your desk each time they enter your office.

The scenarios during which people have the opportunity to "get your goat" are endless. But in business (and in life) it pays to keep that goat hidden, said author and motivational speaker Steve Gilliland.

Addressing an audience of several hundred HR folks at the annual Society for Human Resource Management conference in Chicago in June, Gilliland, author of "Hide Your Goat: Strategies to Stay Positive When Negativity Surrounds You," said there are two things to keep in mind when others try to introduce negativity into your environment:

1) Assign the right value to circumstances. Referencing a lesson from professor Randy Pausch, who's last lecture went viral on the Internet as he was dying of cancer, Gilliland urged the audience to see the true value of their time.

He recalled a tearful admission from a woman he met who realized that although she'd been to everyone one of her daughter's soccer games for the last decade, she'd never been truly present, always distracted by other concerns or her smartphone. Relating it back to business, Gilliland said, "Don't just write your mission statements; live them."

2) Life picks on everyone; don't take it personally. "People that are miserable recruit," he said. By taking things as they come, having the right perspective on the situation, you will make the situation better.

"Having the right perspective is about you," Gilliland said, adding that if a 60-second commercial can influence us, imagine what the first 60 minutes of the day does for our attitude and perspective.

 

Put the right stuff in

People will get your goat, Gilliland said, because you don't feed it properly. You must master who you are in order to discover what your goat is - not to mention exercise it and then lock it away. "You can't feed your goat with every negative thing from yesterday," he said.

Instead, you must feed it with the right information and the right people every morning. "Surround yourself with a character of people that resembles who you want to be," he said.

People are "stimuli that provide you with your thoughts," said Gilliland.

A great culture in the workplace changes the way people think, he said. With that in mind, when recruiting talent, "hire attitude, teach skill."

We hire too many people for where their resume says they've been, only to fire them later for who they really are, Gilliland pointed out as the audience nodded their heads in agreement.

It is crucial to fill your office with the right people, as people and information produce thoughts, thoughts produce actions, and actions produce habits - which produces life-long character, said Gilliland. "The mastery of life is the mastery of self," he said.

The expression, "it is what it is" could not be more wrong, explained Gilliland. "It is what you make it," he said. "Never give people or circumstances permission to ruin your day."

Great cultures are produced by the companies that actively choose to define their own environment. "It's not the people, it's the right people," he said.

Referring to the idiom about getting people to jump on the bus before it leaves the station, Gilliland said, "If you have to tell someone they have to get on the bus, they shouldn't be at the bus stop."

Bringing the goat back into the picture, Gilliland closed by reminding the audience that things will get to you when you don't stand your ground and are not who you believe in.

"You have to have the right focus," he said. "We focus on everything but what we should be focused on. When you let people and circumstances dictate you, you're never going to hide your goat."

 


CUSTOMER SERVICE STARTS WITH YOU

By Elizabeth Galentine

Barbara Glanz believes, "if you can't have fun at work then just stay home." Having the right attitude breeds "a workplace of joy," she told attendees at the SHRM conference.

This is important because there are two types of customer service at every business: internal and external. Your internal customers are "anyone who needs something from you to get their work done," she said, adding that "you'll never get employees to treat customers better than they're being treated themselves."

Referencing author Michael LeBoeuf's book, How to Win Customers & Keep Them for Life, Glanz shared the reasons why customers stop doing business with a company:

* 1% die

* 3% move away

* 5% develop other friendships

* 9% competitive reasons

* 14% dissatisfied with a product

* 68% quit because of an attitude of indifference toward them by an employee at the company

To combat the possibility of losing a client due to a poor interaction with a member of your firm, remind staff that every interaction has two levels, Glanz said: human and business. "All employees are well trained on business," she explained, "but human creates loyalty."

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