An Attitude Adjustment: It’ll Work Every Time

By: Allison McCarthy, MBA | amccarthy@barlowmccarthy.com

As the article title reflects, Hank Williams Jr. said it best in his 1984 hit song.  Much has been written about attitude as a key ingredient for business success.  Yes, positive attitudes do elevate performance, influence others and generate results.  But, the most powerful benefit is the change in perspective and energy for the individual.

Today’s physician recruiters feel overworked and undervalued.  Frustrated with what they often feel is leadership’s lack of attention, medical staff lack of responsiveness, and the challenges of this tough demand/supply market, it’s easy for physician recruiters to be discouraged.  But, negativity just fuels more dejection and defeat.

In the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Stanford University Psychologist Carol Dweck identified that core attitudes come from either a fixed or a growth mindset.  The fixed mindset believes their basic talents and abilities won’t change. A growth mindset sees challenges as an opportunity to learn and persist.  A growth mindset person would say, “This didn’t work, and I’m a problem-solver, so I’ll try something else.”

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

I must admit that I’m a natural fixed mindset person.  But surrounding myself with growth mindset people has taught me how to manage challenge, frustration, and discouragement.  What I see them do is this:

Go to the balcony – a popular phrase that suggests looking at each situation as if you were in the theatre balcony and it were taking place on the stage.   For example, if denied staff expansion, the view from the balcony might reveal an FTE count versus a dollar issue – opening the door to try another form of support.  Or when a specialist sabotages a candidate’s impressions, you might see that the physician’s competitive concerns need to be managed.  Going to the balcony spotlights all the situational factors at play.

Seek ideas – Growth in search volume, tightening resources, and increasing leadership expectations requires finding creative ways to get the job done.  That might include soliciting vendors to expand support, finding other recruitment ambassadors inside the organization and/or community, or requesting help from a finance colleague to make the business case for additional resources.

Keep moving – Fixed mindset folks will get stuck, but the growth mindset crowd will try something else.  With a broader perspective from the balcony and ideas from others, a list of potential actions is available.  The next step is to take action.  Geoffrey James, contributing editor for Inc. magazine, said, “If you don’t do the work to keep moving up, you’re doomed to go downhill.”  He recommends:

  • Resolve to take at least one action, every day.
  • Schedule those actions into your daily routine.
  • Execute on your plan.

Action demonstrates to both the organization and yourself that you’re taking back control.  And by implementing various actions simultaneously, the solution is more likely to be identified along with feeling better about the situation. In other words, take an attitude adjustment.

Discouragement and defeat does not have to be the outcome.  Take control, try something else, and find another way.  Altering that fixed mindset is a critical skill for succession in physician recruitment today.