How could a 38-foot snake devour an entire company, you ask?
The 38-foot snake was an Anaconda. Actually, it wasn’t just one anaconda, there were many.
The Anaconda is a snake in the Amazon that grows to 38 feet in length. Anacondas coil around their kill squeezing so tightly that their prey can’t expand its lungs to allow in fresh air. Anacondas suffocate their victims by literally squeezing out the breath of life. Then they devour them.
The Anacondas In Life (see our bookstore for a copy of this book) are the people and information sources which promote negativity, doubt, despair, and limitation thinking. The company that was devoured by a 38-foot snake was choked to death by the negative can’t do attitude and the doubt and despair of the people in it.
Things did not start out on a negative note. In the beginning it was a mood of optimism. The president smiled a lot and complimented individuals on their work. The vice president of sales had a sense of humor and put fun into the day. A siren was sounded when big orders were achieved and there were free donuts on Fridays when sales quotas were exceeded.
But in the end, there were no donuts and the siren was silent.
The negativity in this company wasn’t caused by one person; it involved many aspects and many people. As financial and operating problems increased, the president withdrew from the organization and spent much of his time behind closed doors with subordinates. Communication in the company came to a halt and the internal newsletter was abandoned.
When sales results were short of the mark, the vice president of sales berated the individuals on the sales force for letting him down and he became sarcastic and cynical.
The vice president became a real negative person, and if there was one main Anaconda in this company, he was it. He began killing ideas with skepticism before the ideas were even fully born. “Oh really?” was a sarcastic expression he acquired. “Quit living in a dream world” was another.
Being positive is not always the easy choice
We live in a world that manufactures negative information. Our newspapers, internet, and media thrive on reporting negativity. We wake up to bad news on the radio and television, read it in our newspapers, magazines, on our I-pads, and see it again on the late night news. And during the day, if we allow it, we churn this negativity input over and over in our conversations.
When you add company changes, downsizing, and operating problems to the external onslaught of negativity, the natural tendency is to join in and be negative. If individuals spend their time complaining and telling each other they are overwhelmed and stressed, they are foretelling their own misfortune.
In many aspects, it is easier and more “in” to be negative than to be positive. It is easier to find fault with individuals than to find their strengths. It is easier to agree it can’t be done than to find ways to do it. It is easier to complain than it is to be upbeat.
Whose job is it to create a positive, Anaconda-Free environment?
So, how did the company go from upbeat and optimistic to doom and gloom?
There were many contributing elements, but the central factor was that the members of management were not strong enough and sufficiently skilled to remain positive in the face of difficulties and adversity. They became reactive and reclusive and were not proactive and forceful in creating and maintaining a constructive environment.
Just about anyone can promote a positive environment when things are going well. It’s a no brainer to buy donuts on Fridays when sales quotas are being met. Sounding a siren for big orders is a natural and almost obvious action to take.
But what about when things aren’t going so swimmingly? What are the leaders of a company supposed to do when sales quotas are missed? What steps should executives take when the people in their organizations become preoccupied with doom and gloom? Should the managers cut costs and forget about the donuts and the celebrations? Should the officers of the company commiserate and join in the negative discussions?
We don’t think so. We think it is management’s responsibility to maintain a positive and inspiring environment in both good and bad times. It is management’s responsibility to remove Anacondas from their organizations. It is management’s responsibility to create and maintain a positive Anaconda-free environment. Managers are supposed to rise above doom and gloom, aren’t they?
If creating a positive environment is not the responsibility of management, whose responsibility is it? If top management isn’t responsible for removing an Anaconda like the vice president of sales in this story, who is?
How to create and maintain a positive environment
We had the opportunity to interview a man who was the founder and president of one of the most successful agencies in one of the most successful financial services companies in the world. A multi-millionaire many times over, this man has a vibrant and growing business and his team of associates and business partners is superb by every standard you can imagine.
When asked what he attributed the success of his business to, he fired back instantly, “I manage our environment,” he said.
“You manage your environment?”
“That’s right,” he said. “My number one most important job is to manage the environment our people work in.”
He went on to explain how he went about creating a motivational climate that attracted and cultivated “eagles” as he referred to them – people who suggest ideas and make things happen. One of his techniques is to provide his associates with an ongoing series of books, DVDs, CDs, and newsletters on the subjects of leadership, motivation, and management.
This man went on to say that it wasn’t until his twelfth year in business that he realized he had built an organization comprised of mostly mediocre individuals. He said he suddenly realized the only way he would ever be able to build a truly great organization was to go for super quality people. At that juncture, he started weeding out non-performers and began recruiting only positive, can-do eagles. Then his business really began to soar.
Are you an Anaconda or are you a Dream Sower?
It is doubtful that any of us really wants to be an Anaconda in life, but unfortunately, sometimes we unknowingly are.
In many ways we have become dulled to the reality that the people we come in contact with daily are living human beings. We are human beings, not machines. We have feelings, emotions, and needs, and one of those needs is to be encouraged by the people we are around and the environment we are in.
When someone approaches you with a new idea, what is your immediate response? Do you perk up, smile, and say, “neat idea, tell me more about it?” Or do you tell them you don’t have time now and ask them to see you sometime next week?
Join our campaign to create a more positive environment
We invite you to join our campaign to create a more positive environment wherever you are. Please print out a copy of our Anaconda-Free-Zone Poster, hang it in your workspace, and then explain our Anaconda concept to all who see this poster. Clients also find value in purchasing and distributing The Anacondas In Life to their organizations.
Do whatever it takes to create a more positive environment where you are! Drop us a line and tell us your results. Check back from time to time to read more posts on creating a more positive environment.