A “We” Attitude

by Bates, Suzanne Monday, December 20, 2010
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I once had an employee who took one of our new folks to a client meeting. When it was over, this veteran insisted they take the afternoon to go shopping and out to lunch. When the new employee raised an eyebrow and said perhaps they should get back to the office, the veteran cajoled her into compliance. ”Don’t worry,” this employee said, “It’s no big deal. You and I deserve this.”

Please don’t get me wrong; we all goof off once in awhile. Sometimes you need to. In this case, it was symptomatic of a larger issue. It was a serious lack of “WE” attitude.

If you have people who are frustrating you, read on. It’s important to explore your angst and deal with it. It can kill you. You hire people who have the skill and know-how to do the job, but after a while, something just isn’t right. They are nice. They just don’t seem to be able to get it done.

Upon further examination, these individuals are working, they just aren’t really pulling their weight. They aren’t going out of their way. There are always delays. There are always excuses. They might say something about you behind your back that they think they can get away with. It’s enough to make you want to tear your hair out. And they’re never all that – concerned. What’s written on their face is, “It’s no big deal.”

So…what you’re dealing with here isn’t a lack of talent, and it isn’t a vitamin deficiency such as “C,” “D,” or “E.” It is a deficit of another kind - a lack of ”WE” -attitude.

Unfortunately if you don’t deal with it, it can be contagious. One person who lacks “WE” can infect others. On the other hand, if you have a lot of “WE folks in your company” you’re in very good shape. “WE” is powerful.

How do you know? You LOVE these people with the “WE” attitude. Typically they:

-Use the word “we” when talking to other employees, clients and vendors about the company;
-Never complain they didn’t know who was responsible when something goes wrong;
-Head off problems before they erupt by anticipating and communicating well with their colleagues;
-Take absolute delight in getting things done right and on time;
-Treat their time like it is precious;
-Treat the company’s money like it is their own.
I hope you have a lot of “we” players. If you do, and a person lacking “WE” comes along, they stick out like a sore thumb. If you don’t have a whole bunch of “WE” players, then you need to address the larger issue of culture. ”WE” trumps pure talent packaged up in “I”s” every single time. Just look at any pro sports team. How many NFL teams replete with talent this year won’t even make the playoffs? The same is true of your organization. Talent alone will not drive your success. Take a reading and see whether you have any ”WE deficient folks, and make a plan to deal with it.