Ron Valega, IICRC Instructor, starts our classes with a talk about attitude. Then he tells the story of starting out as a restoration company owner. As his business was failing, he was hanging out with another business owner whose business was doing even worse than his. One night he went home to his wife and said, “Good News!
Joe is only going to make it another two months before going under; we got four.”  Then, something struck him. Ron realized in that moment how sick and twisted his behavior and thought process was. He would time his arrival at work specifically so that he did not have to see his staff. They had bad attitudes. He realized he owned a company he did not like; he told himself it was acceptable and was justified by comparing himself to the people and business owners who were in worse shape than him.
He made a bold move. He reached out to another restoration company owner in an adjacent territory that was growing, buying new trucks, and doing well. He asked for a meeting which was met with enthusiasm. Lesson:  Successful people help other people succeed. This business owner asked him, “What do you do at night?” Ron replied, “I drink a six pack, watch TV, go to sleep.” The successful business owner replied, “Successful people don’t do that every night.” What happened next was amazing, Ron found a mentor. He began to read and took back the control and destiny of his company and turned it around. He owned and operated that restoration company for more than 20 years before becoming an instructor and found inspiration and sound counsel in his new mentor.  He tells the class to think about, “Who are you hanging with?”
Next month, marks the three year anniversary of the Restoration Technical Institute. Upon reflection, the greatest gift of the past three years has been the opportunity to make new friends in the industry. According to, a friend is “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter.” We end every class by saying, “You have new friends and thank you for being our friend.”  
Our industry is filled with competition and it can be tough. Healthy competition is a good thing and is a basic driver of business and the economy. Competition drives innovation and quality service and should be embraced. There is nothing but reward in having friends in the industry even if direct competitors. Be rewarded by “hanging with successful people in the industry and outside the industry.”  Take an inventory of your friends and think about “Who you are hanging with.”  
I am a fan of the word “synergy”, which describes the effect of two or more forces coming together and their sum is greater than their individual effects. This applies to attitudes and successes. Sharing challenges and successes with friends who have a positive attitude and are successful will create more positivity and more success. It is simple math when you apply the concept of synergy to having the right friends.
Bad attitudes within your company? Synergy will come into play. Even a slight bad attitude can breed far worse attitudes among your team. I have a very high tolerance and patience for those who make mistakes or are in the process of learning, and a very low tolerance for a bad attitude. The most important consideration in hiring a new team member is simply put in a book called, 212° Service: “When hiring someone, start with the premise that attitudes are contagious and then ask yourself: “Is theirs worth catching?” I highly recommend every supervisor, manager, owner of a service organization watch or read, 212° Service.
Find a mentor, take an inventory of your friends and make new ones, get rid of the bad attitudes around you and then watch synergy come into play as happiness and success multiplies and surrounds you.