The Power of Attitude

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by Tom Winslow, Goldfinch Winslow Law Firm

On Valentine’s Day, I passed out cards to the team that had one very important quote on them:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church .... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past ... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our attitudes.” - Charles Swindoll 

What is it that makes attorneys and law firms think that their clients don't deserve to be treated with respect? I recently, just read an article that states "Chick-Fil-A" is the third leading fast food restaurant mostly attributed to the service they provide. A simple "please" and "thank you" or "my pleasure" goes a long way. Our law firm handles medical malpractice and many times a simple "I am sorry" at the time of the issue would solve years of litigation on the back end, but it is very rarely done. However, it seems to be an epidemic in the professional fields - medical, legal, journalism, etc. that through years of schooling, not one class is taught on how to treat a client and their family. It appears that while we need 12 years of schooling, four years of college, and at least three years of post-graduate work to learn how to do the work, it is not worth one class, one hour, not worth any time to learn how to actually talk to a client, treat a client, and or be respectful of a client and co-workers.

Our South Carolina Supreme Court issues orders on treating each other with civility, yet I have not seen one training on how to do that or what that means. No wonder the legal profession has the reputation it does. 

Last week I read a book on creating positive health care patient experiences in the medical field. I read this because honestly, going to the doctor and going to a lawyer are the two things almost no one does because they want to, it is because they feel they need to. This is a great book to affirm the need for service in professional realm, including the legal field. Law firms are stores for the law, we are a service industry in that we are serving the legal needs of our clients.  Therefore, while we must provide a great product, we must also provide a great service. These tips from "Can Health Care be Warm and Fuzzy" really apply to anyone that has to work with any client or co-worker:

1. Your ability to understand an individual will assist you in understanding the issue.

2. Being truly present and accountable will help you see the bigger picture. 

3. If you are truly listening you will not only hear the words, but the meaning of the words even if it is not said out loud.

4. Good Service starts with making the "patient" part of the experience. 

5. Dissatisfaction results from being kept in the dark.

6. You don't build a bond without being present.

7. While "patients" may not understand what you are saying or doing, they do understand the service they receive.

8. If we do not judge our "patients," then helping them for who they are is what we become. 

9. When you start talking like the best, you will start working like the best. 

10. If you do not have confidence in what you are doing, neither will your "patient."

11. Confidence builds trust. 

12. You are on a stage every time you step into the office. 

13. Fight the battles worth fighting.

14. Your demeanor, body language, and conversations are seen by your team and your "patients."

15. When you convey that you are present, you uplift the person in front of you to feel that their worth and importance matter. 

16. Most people you speak with are frightened and anxious.

17. Maybe you don't like the person, but that does not prevent you from saying hello and smiling.

18. Negative begets negative. 

19. You own your behavior, what you do with it is up to you.

20.  Treat everyone nice regardless of how they treat you. 

21. We limit our own potential and opportunities by being negative. 

22. Everyone in life has our own obstacles to overcome, what makes people successful is overcoming those obstacles by keeping their dreams in front of them and continuing to chase after it. 

23. Truly appreciate just waking up each day. 

24. Failure is an anomaly that is analyzed to be made better, before trying again. 

25. Simply giving corrective action will never correct the underlying issue. 

26. De-clutter to focus on the mission. 

27. Stay focused on what you do and do it well. 

28. We are too focused on comparing ourselves to our competition instead of simply great businesses and people.

29. If you want to be the best, emulate the best. 

30. Eye contact, hands shaken, and sincerity shown. 

31. Courtesy is the most basic element of communication. 

32. Courtesy is nothing more than being nice. 

33. Share positive comments with others, share negative comments with the individual. 

34. Negative attitudes destroy morale. 

35. Dream counsel with your team. 

36. If they truly have a dream outside of your office, then encourage them to pursue it.

37. Employees work for a paycheck, teammates work for each other.

38. Every person doing the little things that must be done, allow for the big things to be done.

39. Leaders set the example and mold the culture.

40. Strength of the team is each individual and the strength of each individual is the team. 

41. "Patients" rarely understand what was done, just how it was done.

42. t should be the first instinct to look out for each other and our "patients."

43. Good people make good places. 

44. It is about the "patient's" perspective, not yours. 

45. A fresh perspective or fresh face may change the outcome - it is okay to get help. 

46. People may act like monsters because no one gave them the compassion to hear their story. 

47. Innovation is the key. 

48. Put spirit in your product. 

49. Have "community-based" services. 

50. Those crazy enough to thimble they can change the world, are the ones who do. 

51. Body language speak volumes. 

52. Apologize. 

53. Own the situation with empathy. 

54. Problems don't go away until they are addressed. 

55. Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. 

56. Say thank you. 

57. To truly learn we must take measure to ensure they do not reoccur. 

58. Take accountability, responsibility, and authority to change. 

59. The customer is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve them. 

60. Is our job feeding our soul?  

61. Few people on earth have the ability to positively impact the well-being of another individual, acutely and potentially lifelong - it is a blessing bestowed on those willing to accept the responsibility. 

62. We get paid to make people's lives better. 

63. If you are not having fun at what you do, you will never be excellent on it. 

64. To remain excellent we must continue to adapt and change with the with the needs of our "patients."

65. Great service begins and ends with great people. 

66. Great people makes great service easy.

67. Do not work to work - work to bless those you have the ability to work with.


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About Goldfinch Winslow Law Firm

Tom Winslow is an attorney at the law firm of Goldfinch Winslow LLC. While his firm practices in an array of legal fields, they pride themselves on being able to help small businesses, families and individuals alike. They are happy to help the people and businesses of Horry and Georgetown counties with all their legal needs. Goldfinch Winslow works hard not just on your legal matters, but to earn your trust and respect. You can reach Winslow at 843-357-9301 or tom@goldfinchwinslow.com.