The temperature does not directly change the stock market. What it does do, is increase optimism.

You cannot change the weather, but you can change your mindset.

They say optimism is the best thing for business, and it’s free (let’s be optimistic about that.) They say life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it; the same must be true in business.

There will be good and bad days, how you react to them will determine what follows.

“Look up, it is endless. Look down, it has a floor.”


In recruitment, I have had experience of working in both a global corporation and Churchill Howard, a Birmingham based SME.

Personally, I found optimism rare in a global KPI led business. A persistent focus on numbers and little else forces management to focus on the areas an employee is not performing, with not enough attention to where they are.

Often when set targets were hit, there would need to be a new KPI added, or the bar raised slightly higher. The old recruitment classic “Make More Calls!”

With this attitude you can’t help but miss out on optimism and the success it creates. In fact, quite the reverse is on show.

As a result of this employees can often think a negative mood at work can be an effect of poor performance, whereas often it is the cause.

Mindset is first, results are second.

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.”


Contrary to this, something we do exceptionally well at Churchill Howard is stay optimistic.

As a smaller business we see the immediate effects of almost everything we do, say and even think.

There is no hiding in recruitment, the figures are plan for all to see, KPI’s aren’t needed to know where we stand individually or as a business.

I looked back at my performance over early 2018 and found myself asking “is that all I achieved?” Over a few months my performance was not where I had planned it to be, but what surprised me more was:

I had forgotten all about it.

I have no memories of feeling bad about my performance. I don’t remember any lack of enthusiasm. I felt no pressure to turn things around or as if my job was on the line. Nobody had heightened my targets nor used KPI’s to or highlight the (obvious) gap from where I was to where I needed to be.

And I put this down to an optimistic culture.

“A flower does not blossom without sunlight.” (I will take being the flower in this one)


With less focus on what was going wrong, and more focus on what I was doing right and how I could do more of it; it allowed me to stay positive. I knew I wasn’t performing, as did everyone else but we continued to look up.

Being a smaller business comes with it’s own risks too, but with optimism it always felt like it would improve.

And it did.

I kept enjoying work, we kept looking up and ultimately, I have finished the year on a high; hitting the promotion target I set out for and doubling my previous best month along the way.

(The business has also just beaten it’s best ever month by over 50% and seen 2 other promotions this month.)

“Be thankful for what you have. You’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.”


I have chosen this quote especially, as I have found employers who are constantly reminding employees what they haven’t achieved, will never get enough from them.

And those that are thankful for their employees, will get more from them.

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.”


Author: Tom Barnfield

Senior Consultant – Churchill Howard

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