A positive mindset is not just vital for individual business success. Collective glass-half-full thinking will be the thing to tip the balance in terms of securing Hull a lasting legacy from our City of Culture 2017 status.
I know from clinical experience the transformative effect thinking the right way can have on every aspect of a person’s life, including how successful they are in business.
And I believe that tackling this collectively is essential to ensuring the city is not held back by its traditional underdog thinking at this pivotal moment in its history.
Hull people are, I believe, some of the most fantastic you could meet.
They are friendly, good-hearted and packed with dry humour and edgy creativity. But the flipside of this is they almost like to sell themselves short, as a coping mechanism in case things don’t quite pan out as they had hoped. They expect the worst so that it won’t bother them too much when it happens!
The reality is, though, that really great things are happening in the city, right now, and to make sure we see this through to the end, we really do need to make sure we take hold of any negative thinking and channel it in the right direction.
This is particularly true in our business community because it is the beating heart of the city’s regeneration.
For the first time, probably ever, we are seeing major investment by big international players; interest from around the globe in what we have to offer in terms of everything from art to property and, at last, some positive PR about what it is really like to spend time here.
If we can grasp that and really, really believe in it, it will transform our fortunes and the way we are perceived all over the country and the world, forever.
This means adopting a growth mindset and being unafraid to take risks in order to learn and overcome our limitations. This was really brought home to me by research I did for my soon-to-be-published book, ‘Go the Hull Way’. I interviewed famous and successful Hull folk including boxer Tommy Coyle, the ‘Bee Lady’, Paul Sewell of Sewell Group and ‘gadget man’ Jonathan Elvidge, about their ingredients for making it. In all cases, it was an attitude of mind that had got them where they are today.
So, who better to try to instil this kind of optimistic outlook into the people of our lovely city, than its entrepreneurs? Hence my challenge to anyone who is in a leadership role in a business or related organisation locally, to help spread some positivity around - my 100-day positivity challenge!
I announced this challenge during my keynote speech for the recent James Legal – The Business 2017 masterclass. Titled Mind Over Matter, I also talked to the 100-or-so businesses who attended about the importance of positive mindset in business and how to achieve it.
Can our businesses influence the mindset of a city? I believe they can be the catalyst for long-term change, and become the role models of a growth mindset for Hull, and rather than ‘pushing’ people to think and behave in a certain way, concentrating on ‘pulling’ them up.
If you’re one of them, I’m asking you to:
Do one, new, positive thing daily that will brighten the day of your employees and customers alike – such as spending an extra 10 minutes asking them how they are, offering to help them with something or giving a little extra of your product or service for free (offering exceptional customer service is arguably the one most influential thing you can do – because this will leave people with a lasting impression of what it’s really like to visit Hull)
Make some iconic changes in your workplace – these could involve removing any negative displays or messages pinned about the place or even sticking up smiley faces to provoke conversations about what you’re doing and what it means to be positive
How many people could we impact collectively? Well, if 100 businesses took up the challenge, and each business dealt with just 20 customers a day, between now and the end of 2017, almost 200,000 people could be impacted by the positivity, creating a ripple effect of an irresistible feelgood factor, renewed confidence and, as a result, increased success.
I’m really interested in hearing from you about the impact your actions have, too. Send interesting facts about comments your customers or team members make that show the positive vibes are being passed on. I’d also like to know how many people you think you’ve reached each month between now and the end of the year. You can send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.