[Post by Chuck Krugh, September 28, 2022]
The only thing more powerful than a person with a can-do attitude is a team with a can-do attitude. People with a can-do attitude tend to be more positive, see solutions where others don’t, solve problems faster, don’t get upset when faced with an obstacle but instead view them as a challenge, and thrive on “making it happen.” I’ve had a can-do attitude for so long that it feels natural, but I believe it’s a skill that can be learned, practiced and perfected.
Over the years, I have seen that people with a can-do attitude tend to have a more positive outlook—possibly because they don’t see problems quite the same way others do. While I’m not trying to say that problems faced by people with can-do attitudes are not challenging, difficult or even frustrating, they seem to bounce back quicker and want to find solutions. Perhaps the positive outlook and desire to find solutions are stronger and more important to these people.
In my experience, the can-do people see more potential solutions to problems. I believe it’s about their attitude and, in particular, their ability to see a pathway beyond the problem. There are always multiple ways to solve problems—whether you go over, under, around or through them. Can-do people seem to say to themselves, “I know I can solve this problem, but what is the best path to do so?”
Problems become challenges—not obstacles—for people with can-do attitudes. I believe they thrive on the challenge; they actively seek out opportunities to be involved with problem solving and enjoy generating solutions. Again, not trying to say they want problems, but they don’t shy away when they face them. Solving problems can be exhilarating.
I believe you can learn and train yourself to have a can-do attitude. I don’t think it’s an innate skill or ability. Rather, it’s a decision you make about how you will face challenges. In fact, I believe it grows and matures the more you use it.
As I said in the beginning, a team of can-do-attitude people is unstoppable. There are numerous military examples throughout history where a group of people were faced with overwhelming odds yet find a way to not only survive the battle, but to win. Here at BIW, many of our ships’ namesakes are heroes who have demonstrated the ultimate can-do attitude when faced with overwhelming odds, with several having led their teams out of danger to safety.
We also see can-do attitudes in sports. In particular, I recall the 1980 Winter Olympics and the US Men’s Hockey Team (I might be dating myself here). The team pulled off the “Miracle on Ice”—beating several teams, including the USSR, who were better on paper than the US. The US team had a can-do attitude: they believed they could skate with the best and win—and they did.
As we begin to claw back schedule, we too can each decide how to face the challenges of our work, Maine weather and other things that get in the way of our success. Are you facing these issues with a can-do attitude, looking at them as challenges instead of obstacles and seeking solutions instead of excuses?
I choose to always face the day with a can-do attitude because I know I will win more with it than without it.
President, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works
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