Coping with the nay-sayer

A negative attitude can defeat achievement and progress. A.P. Gouthey wrote: "You can't have darkness and light in the same place at the same time. The cure for a gloomy outlook is a lighted mind.

08/01/1998


A negative attitude can defeat achievement and progress.

A.P. Gouthey wrote: "You can't have darkness and light in the same place at the same time. The cure for a gloomy outlook is a lighted mind."

Unlike Senior Engineer Brad Phillips, Project Supervisor Bill Weiner was an advocate of meaningful change. Thus he was bugged by Brad's habit of mindlessly denigrating almost every idea proposed at the department's weekly brainstorming sessions. His negative outlook and it-won't-work attitude rubbed off on the rest of the team, dampening spirit, undermining morale.

Weiner was impelled to do something about it. As an optimist he believed that while attitude is a predisposition to behavior, it isn't an absolute. People, even people like Brad, can be persuaded to alter both their outlook and resulting behavior. But how?

Maybe his boss would have some ideas.

Question : What strategy would you use to convert a nay-sayer to a yea-sayer?

Klein's approach: Plant Engineer Rod Klein listened thoughtfully while Weiner expressed his concern.

"You mean he knocks down every suggestion at those brainstorming sessions?"

"Almost every one -- except his own. Like his development idea for a refrigerant management plan. He's all gung-ho for that."

Weiner then cited examples of Phillips' ill considered opposition.

"Interesting," Klein said. "Send him to my office; I'll have a chat with him."

Minutes later, dour-faced Brad Phillips sat across from Klein at his desk.

"Brad, I understand you'd like to get a go-ahead on that refrigerant plan you worked up."

Phillips' face lit up. "Yeah, I think -- "

"Let me ask you this. How would you feel if the idea was killed because a colleague, without even thinking it through, sounded off against it?"

Phillips frowned. "I'm not sure I know what you mean."

"I'll spell it out."

Klein cited an example of Phillips' negativism that Weiner had related. "Tell me, Brad, how closely did you examine and evaluate Ed Horlick's control primer suggestion before declaring it wouldn't work?"

"Well..." His frown deepened. "You mean I -- ?"

Klein smiled. "I think you get the message. Give it some thought. If you want people to respond positively to your ideas, you have to give theirs a fighting chance to succeed -- unless you have a valid reason to do otherwise."





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
Safety standards and electrical test instruments; Product of the Year winners; Easy and safe electrical design
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation modernization; Predictive analytics enable open connectivity; System integration success; Automation turns home brewer into brew house
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
Compressed air plays a vital role in most manufacturing plants, and availability of compressed air is crucial to a wide variety of operations.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me