How do you want to be perceived? What does your attitude say about you? How can a change in attitude improve your company’s image?

Often times we don’t realize – or we find it hard to Billys_Winning_Team.jpgimagine – how others perceive us. One thing I’ve learned to do is to slow down and remove myself from a situation and take an objective view on how my attitude, actions, and even my appearance can change someone’s perception of me.

As a recruiter for Populus Group, I experienced this every day while speaking with candidates over the phone and going onsite with them for interviews and their first days. Another thing that drove this point home was a customer service book called “Lessons from the Mouse” which every person in the PG community reads. The first chapter of the book is called “Never Let Backstage Come Onstage” and draws similarities to roles in the business world. In its simplest form, customer facing roles are “onstage”, operational roles are “backstage” and both are responsible for the experience of Disney’s guests. That analogy became my reality when I was asked to relocate to another state to sit onsite at a new customer. My new role would definitely require an onstage presence.

I was born and raised in Michigan and had never been to California until two months before my big move. Needless to say, I had a hectic time getting to know a new customer, a new job, and a new area. Fortunately, I had support from a great community and years of experience to fall back on. We were also lucky to have a great customer with a culture similar to ours, and the team I got to work with was extraordinary.

Despite all of this, I found myself in some difficult situations that tested my patience, resolve and attitude. Things started to pile up both professionally and personally; balancing a move while assisting with a program implementation proved to be a bigger challenge than I expected. Implementations are tough to begin with and on top of that, there was a mishap with the moving company. I found out that I would be without my belongings for my first three weeks in California. As overwhelming as this entire situation was, I did my best to remember the lessons I learned from the Mouse. It didn’t matter to anyone but me that my stuff was sitting in a truck somewhere in Tennessee, or that I would have an empty apartment for three weeks. Why would I let that negatively impact what I did in front of my customer?

I could say things started out terrible, or I could check my attitude and look at it from another perspective. I decided to turn a bad situation into something much more lighthearted with fun little updates to break up the day for the team. Since I was also forced to explore my surroundings, I was able to share some of the new places I visited and take suggestions on others. I found that this was an opportunity to learn things about my new team that I wouldn’t have otherwise, which in turn created stronger relationships than I ever could have hoped for.

After having some great, candid conversations with my customer, I’m confident in saying that – from their perspective – the transition was a relatively smooth one. It’s interesting to take a step back and see how there are two entirely different perceptions resulting from the same positive attitude.

Ask yourself, are you showing up to others the way you want to be perceived?

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