Darrell Hammond

'The mind is your main production tool'

Optimism is among the keys to positive influence.

May 22, 2019

A critical element of influence is the emotional environment you create around yourself, Darrell Hammond tells a preconference workshop at the CUNA Finance Council Conference in New York City.

Optimism is a quality that virtually all successful influencers possess.


  • Are paid more.
  • Are healthier.
  • Win more elections.
  • Live longer.
  • Are better at dealing with uncertainty and change.

“The mind is your main production tool,” Hammond says. “We have to figure out what we do day by day that contributes to our culture. What are you doing, what is your language like, what are your relationships like that define your environment at work?”

‘We have to figure out what we do day by day that contributes to our culture.’
Darrell Hammond

People like to consider themselves optimists, Hammond says. He cites one study that showed 78% of respondents describing themselves as “glass half-full” types.

Hammond says positive influencers have developed an explanatory style of optimism. “When trouble hits, optimists have a tendency to the problem view the problem as temporary,” he says. “Bad events are likely to be a passing thing, followed by better times.”

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Hammond uses a metaphor from Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.”

The brain can be thought of as having two sides, an elephant and a rider. The elephant is the emotional, automatic, and irrational side. The rider is the analytical, controlled, and rational side.

“In most situations, the elephant is going to win because of the tonnage it carries,” Hammond says. “The elephant wins the day most of the time. In most organizations, the elephant runs amuck.”

Hammond says the hope and trust that positive influencers provide give an organization resilience or bounce to recover from the punches that are an everyday part of life.

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