Learning to soar

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 20, 2009

From a distance, a picture of two types of birds may be hard to differentiate.

It could be a buzzard or perhaps even an eagle, and while those two have some similar qualities, the eagle would prove to be the stronger in the end.

That was the illustration Len Williams, with Emerald Coast Dale Carnegie Training, used to open the seminar “Leading and Managing in Tough Times.”

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“People here in this room are eagles of the world,” Williams said to the group of 70 gathered at the Troy Municipal Airport Wednesday.

The seminar, led by the nationally-known leadership group, was sponsored by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Pike County Young Professionals, gathering several from within the county’s business community.

“We had a great turnout that and were very pleased with it,” said Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Jenniffer Barner.

And, through the seminar, Williams provided insight on how those “eagles” could learn to soar, even in tough economic times.

Williams kicked off the event having participants list personal and professional strengths.

From organization to growth to productivity, it didn’t take long for the room to fill pages with positives.

“The reason I started off like this is isn’t it human nature to dwell on the negative?” Williams said. “Sometimes it really helps to list all the things going well to put things in perspective.”

That positive perspective, Williams said, is a key player in business success.

To his audience, Williams broke down four phases of attitude, one path that cycles from the excitement of a new job, to its frustrations and ends with looking for a new one.

But, Williams said in order to achieve a positive cycle, people should channel those frustrations in another direction.

“Turn your energy on a solution, not looking for sympathy or justification,” Williams said.

Aside from personal attitude, Williams also touched on how leaders can engage their employees, by showing appreciation, providing incentives or giving employees professional development opportunities.

Those in attendance said the conference was beneficial.

“The four phases of attitude was my favorite,” said Yolanda Foreman, office manager of Troy Cable. “It gives me encouragement since I’ve been here 10 years that I have to recommit myself every day.”

Barner said she believes all those in attendance took away a new perspective on their jobs.

“I think that the attendees took away an understanding of maybe how to handle work situations more,” Barner said. “And as managers of people, I think we learned that in these times, priorities have changed and needs of employees have changed. It is very important for people to like what they do and the place they spend more than 40 plus hours a week.”

Barner said since this seminar was such a success, the chamber will hold more.

“We hope to bring something like this once a month,” Barner said. “We will repeat this specific seminar on Sept. 9 and are taking reservations now.”