CEOs are smart, but they are often not the smartest person at the company. However, one trait they almost always have is the right attitude. They realize having the right mental attitude is more important than having the right mental capabilities.
Now do not get me wrong, you can’t just walk around the office spouting off positive mental attitude platitudes in order to #betheboss.
Instead, CEOs and Entrepreneurs do this:
- They regularly communicate the vision
- They live their company values & inspire others to do the same
- They prefer optimism to pessimism.
- They believe!
- They hang around positive people and avoid energy-drainers.
- They are grateful for what they have instead of envying their neighbor.
- They think before acting out of fear or frustration.
And perhaps most importantly, CEOs should have an attitude similar to what Admiral James Stockdale described to Jim Collins in Collins’ book Good to Great. When asked how he survived more than seven brutal years as a POW during the Vietnam War, Stockdale replied, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
I’m not suggesting that CEOs confront the same hardship as Stockdale endured. Far from it; rather, I am suggesting that whatever situation you face, whether it is having to fire staff, close a facility, or staring down bankruptcy, adopting the attitude Stockdale described is key.
CEOs must combine an unshakeable faith that things will workout in the end with a laser focus on the reality of the current situation. When faced with difficult times, balancing long-term faith with short-term urgency is a good combination.