Certain things spread rapidly among humans: rumors, bad news, accusations, scandals, bad attitudes. The list is long. You know what I’ve noticed about that list? It is full of laziness. It doesn’t take much energy or effort to join in, agree with, throw flames on or perpetuate.
Moods are just as contagious. A whole atmosphere in a company can take on characteristics from each of them. Salary freezes, layoffs, economic downturns, restructuring, pressure from the top for performance can sink teams and units within a business in minutes and take weeks to months to turn around. Sometimes they never recover. These impact culture and like it or not they transfers to sales, quality and worst of all how the customer feels about the brand.
This same thing can play itself out in relationships and families in the same way. Communities can go from life giving to life sucking with just one sour environment.
Ok, my point is not to focus on the negative here. Far from it. What I want to point out is how often the negative infects our world. I hope by the time I am done you will see that it doesn’t need to be that way.
So what do we do?
We simply change the atmosphere.
A business leader and friend of mine Trent Funk over the last year has taught me the power of a simple phrase. In many conversations he has challenged those he leads to be a thermostat vs a thermometer in any situation.
We bring so much with us into conversations, meetings and relationships. Much of what we bring is garbage. That might sound blunt but it is true.
This is the difference. We hold so much power over the outcome. If we bring a smile, de-escalation, hope, solutions or even silence, that other list quickly dissipates. Remember how lazy those other things are? Well, they don’t put up much of a fight when confronted with the alternatives.
I leave you with this assignment. Test it out. See what happens.
For an example watch the movie clip below. Meg Ryan’s character finds herself in a pretty sticky situation. Everyone around her is making it worse. Then steps in Tom Hank’s character. Watch how he changes the whole atmosphere.
And last, I was able to expand on this topic recently in front of my church. Here is some deeper exploration of how we can change the world this way.
Listen here: Changing the Atmosphere by John Bergquist