vPsychology for Business


We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees

Volume 5, Number 6                                                            March 12, 2004


Psychology for Business is an e-mail newsletter written by  Dr. John Weaver, business psychologist and independent consultant, provided to you at no charge. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To subscribe sign up at our website, http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/. If you wish to cancel your subscription, please see the end of this e-mail for easy instructions

Privacy Statement: We will not distribute the address of any subscriber to anyone.

We invite you to forward this newsletter, in its entirety, to your colleagues.


by Dr. John Weaver, Business Psychologist and Executive Coach

Summary: "Every day is a good day, some days are better than others but every day is a good day." Optimists perform expect better outcomes than the average person. Research suggests that optimists also perform better than the average person. How do you capitalize on what an optimist knows about success?

As I mentioned in my previous newsletters, I tried, many times, to get my father to write down the insights he had about supervising people while he was still alive. He never did it (he was too busy or too modest), so I am going to attempt to do it for him. The stories I will tell will be true as I remember them. They do not need to be embellished because the lessons that can be learned are powerfully present in the stories themselves.


Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then to help orchestrate the energy of those around you.

                – Peter Drucker

Imagine you are at a networking event as a representative of you business. You seem many faces of others who are eager to talk. It is the reason you are there, so you locate a smiling face and introduce yourself. As part of the opening exchange, she asks you “How are you?”

Normally you would give some variation of “I’m great!” and move on to the meat of the conversations.

I invite you to stop and think a little deeper about the question.

How are you, really?

You can keep telling people at networking events “I’m great!” (because most questioners are not really interested in your response), but the answer to this question is important for you. It is important to the quality of your life. It is important to your ability to perform well in the workplace. It also affects the way you interact with others.

Your answer is a snapshot into your attitude toward the important aspects of your life. If a series of events have occurred that have been difficult, you may be frustrated or feeling demoralized. If you are thinking about implications of these difficulties in the future you may be worried and anxious. By contrast, if you are pleased with the flow of your life you may be feeling confident and self-assured.

Each of these snapshots is influencing the way you interact with those around, even if you are not aware of the impact. In a business, the mood is set by the leader. If the leader is worried, even if he or she does not talk about the problems, employees begin to become more irritable as they sense something is wrong. When the leader is honestly feeling positive and upbeat, the employees react with greater focus on the tasks and greater productivity. (In multiple research studies, there has been a consistent finding that performance increases between 40 and 50% when employees are happy in their jobs and that organizations are more profitable when workers are satisfied.)

But the events of your life only influence your attitudes. Events do not determine how you choose to feel about them. Most stories of successful people include one or more failures along the journey to success. Those who are successful learn that failure is not an ending; it is a temporary disruption that must be overcome.

Some individuals simply seem to know how to handle these complex processes. I remember my father’s response to the question “How do you feel?” He would say, “Every day is a good day, some days are better than others, but every day is a good day.”

It was his firm conviction that problems could be solved and obstacles would either be overcome or there would be a better way that would be discovered during the attempt. He was, like many optimistic individuals, often willing to believe that there was a solution when the odds were against him. And, as is the case more often than not for optimistic people, he regularly beat the odds. He found solutions when others would have given up. Difficult events did not cause him to be discouraged, but provided opportunities to find what might be possible.

The way we feel is much more accurately understood as a combination of (a) circumstance, (b) your beliefs about the circumstance and (c) your behavior. Suppose you just learned that you are being sued by one of your customers. This is certainly negative information and will influence how you feel. Your beliefs then interact with that bad news to either make the news even more terrible or to lessen the reaction. If you believe that the lawsuit is justified, for example, learning that a suit has been filed is even worse. However, if you know you have carefully documented appropriate action by your organization and you have confidence in your lawyer; the event seems bad but not catastrophic. Obsessing about the event (a behavior) can worsen the experience, while trusting those who will be dealing with the issue (a different choice) brightens the outlook.

Psychologists sometimes refer to these disparate elements as Antecedent-Belief-Consequence (abbreviated as ABC). Antecedent is the event that triggers a reaction. Belief involves your attitudes about the event. Consequences are the actions taken that lead to resolution or to greater problems.

Those who are most successful have learned how to control their energy and direct it in productive ways. When they say “I’m great!” they truly mean it. They are also able to motivate others. They have not controlled the events or antecedents. Problems are a fact of living. Instead they have learned how to change their beliefs and control their actions to improve the outcomes. This helps co-workers and employees to focus on the right things (beliefs and actions) that will alleviate the problem or even create new opportunities in the midst of the difficult circumstances. The situation might not be great but you still could be if you are in charge of your own beliefs and actions.

While some individuals, like my father, seem to be “naturally” optimistic, optimism is a skill that can be learned. Working with a coach who is also a psychologist is an effective way to acquire this ability. The skill of being able to identify, assess and change beliefs is characteristic of the most successful individuals. The ability to make wiser choices about actions that will lead to better outcomes is more highly correlated with success than intelligence or academic performance. The process of acquiring these skills is well understood and available to those who are motivated to make changes.

How are you?

Did you know that executive coaching is not geographically limited?  Coaching by telephone is effective.  It is also an efficient use of time and resources.  You never need to leave your office to travel, nor do you need to pay travel expenses for your coach. We offer coaching either onsite or by telephone. To find out if coaching is right for you, contact us to schedule a 1/2 hour consultation at no charge.  Or request a price sheet to determine the best value for your organization.  Call us at: (262) 789-2728 or email us at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.

About the Author

John Weaver, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist with 25 years’ professional experience working with organizations, groups, and individuals. He has experience leading groups and creating teamwork in organizations. His areas of expertise include executive coaching, conflict resolution, coaching teams and individuals to improve performance under stress, assessing employees and potential employees to ensure the right person for the right job, and training in stress management and "The Vitamin C’s for an Emotionally Healthy Workplace."  He is an experienced professional speaker and published author.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. John Weaver is available for consultation or executive coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. He may be reached at (262) 789-2728 (office) or (414) 491-8719 (cell), by e-mail: mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com or: 

John Weaver, Psy.D. 
Psychology for Business
2717 North Grandview Boulevard, Suite 303
Waukesha, Wisconsin, 53188

To order your copy of the book, MANAGING DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A Manager’s Practical Guide, by Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass, send your name, address, number of copies desired and a check made out to Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass for $12 per book (plus $2 shipping per book).  Or order 10 or more copies for $10 per book and $6.95 for shipping (up to 50 copies).  No fluff, this book gets right to the point. Send orders to:

Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188   

Email: mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com

To order the booklet: 41 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKPLACE, by Dr. John Weaver send a check for $6 and a self-addressed, double stamped business size envelope to:

Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188

To subscribe visit us at our website: http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.  If you would like to learn more about Dr. John Weaver (mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com), Dr. Lynda Dahlke (mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com), and Dr. Paul Glass (mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com) please visit us at our website.

© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. John Weaver. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. If you would like to reprint part of this newsletter please contact me at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to make arrangements.

Sharing this newsletter with colleagues and friends, under these conditions, is encouraged.

If you have a question or topic you would like to see covered, send your request to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.

Dr. John Weaver publishes another newsletter, co-authored by Darlene Weaver, THE CENTERED PENDULUMIt is our firm belief that lifelong patterns of “being” (personality, attitudes, emotions) and “doing” (lifestyle, adaptability, coping skills) interact with our genes and environment to create conditions of a healthy or a diseased brain.  If you would like to read previous issues of the Centered Pendulum newsletter or to subscribe, please visit the archives at http://www.centeredpendulum.org/newsletters.htm.