How do you view information technology?
How you answer that question could determine whether your business grows or lags behind your competitors.
I’d be shocked if you haven’t heard at least one of these “think positive” quotes:
Your attitude determines your altitude - Zig Ziglar
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. - Winston Churchill
Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. - Colin Powell
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. - Helen Keller
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. - Willie Nelson
Why “Think Positive” Works
Staying positive helps us achieve our goals and see obstacles or slip ups as speed bumps to a successful outcome, not defeat.
Henry Ford nailed this mentality, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
I know. Positive thinking sounds like a fluffy bunch of nonsense. In business, the ethos is hard work, determination, grit, or whatever your favorite word is. Thinking positive really does wire your brain differently over time, you become more open to new ideas and develop a deep belief in exploring new possibilities rather than limiting your beliefs to the “what if’s.”
Combine a determined work ethic with a positive attitude and you can achieve anything.
Negativity is a barrier to success. Negative emotions, like fear, cause us to become fixated on one thing and ignore other options. This was the perfect adaptation mechanism thousands of years ago when our ancestors needed to run from bears, for example. Today, negative emotions cause the same response - a narrowing of focus and limitation of choices. Nowadays, we have different things to fear -- wasting money or being unsuccessful -- but our body’s response remains the same (though at least you won’t be eaten by a bear.)
Positive Attitude, IT, and Business Success
I can almost hear your thoughts, “Thanks, Constance, for the pep talk about my upcoming New Year’s Resolution, but what has this got to do with my printers and other IT infrastructure?”
Much like a positive attitude lets you see possibilities and primes you for success, when you view IT with a positive attitude, you’re more likely to devote the time and resources you need to develop an IT infrastructure that will help your business succeed.
Those that view IT only as a cost, or “necessary evil” will only invest the bare minimum (which will often lead to misalignment between IT and business strategy) and miss opportunities for automation and additional benefits IT provides. A cost-centric view of IT is why I wrote “The High Price of the Cheapest Copier.” What you gain in spending less, you lose in lost productivity.
Research from Symantec, The Global SMB IT Confidence Index 2013, reveals a link in business between successful and bottom-tier companies. The disparity between the types of companies and their view of IT is striking:
81% of top-tier businesses reported that using computing to strategically drive business forward was effective at increasing market share, which is a key business goal. By contrast, only 35% of bottom-tier companies felt this was an effective tactic.
There were four characteristics top SMBs shared relative to IT:
They looked at long-term value over initial expense.
Businesses identified their goals before beginning the search for technology.
They had at least some knowledge of broad IT trends -- cloud, outsourcing, mobility, etc.
They understand security threats are real and need to have a strategy in place to keep their data secure.
Printers are an essential part of many business’ daily operations. Start thinking of them as a part of your overall IT strategy and you’ll see more return on your investment.
Notes: Much of the positive thinking part of this post is based on research from psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson. A good summary is in James Clear’s blog post, How Positive Thinking Builds Your Skills, Boosts Your Health, and Improves Your Work. The books in the huge self-help section in your local bookstore are all based on various types of research that show a positive attitude equals success (most of the time). The research is sound. Developing the habits of thinking positive is the hard part!