The No Complaining Rule
The trend toward an organizational “no complaining” rule is gaining popularity, so in this article we will look at how and why companies are enlisting this rule as the bedrock of cultural change in their organization.
Why do people complain? Usually for one of two reasons: (1) because it has become a habit and (2) because they feel fearful and helpless. Both of these reasons are important to organizations that recognize the value of a shift away from a common culture of complaint.
While it’s true that shared experience is what brings people together, holding them together through emphasis on the negative experiences they share creates a cultural purgatory that will eventually lead to a negative affect on your bottom line.
Granted, in the economic roller coaster of the last 18 months, many people—even employees of yours—have complaints that are grounded in very real situations. People are being asked to do more with less, stretch their budgets, work longer and often they don’t know what the future holds. While all of this is true, it is also true that a pervasive culture of negativity bleeds the organization of its ability to bounce back and recover when it really needs to. So how can you start to shift the tide? Here is a step-by-step guide based on The No Complaining Rule, by Jon Gordon:
1. Get your group together and explain the cost of negativity and
complaining; in other words, raise awareness of your complaint culture.
2. Discuss the difference between mindless and mindful complaining;
mindless complaining focuses on problems, whereas justified complaining
focuses on solutions.
3. Make sure that everyone understands how your organization will
consider and address complaints and turn problems into solutions.
4. Listen to complaints and solutions and give all of them their air time. Not
all solutions will be used, but let your team know that they will be heard
5. Celebrate successes of people who turned their complaints into solutions
and innovations that benefited the organization. Don’t wait for the annual
meeting! Do this continually through email, web site postings,
conference calls and meetings.
Make creating a positive culture a priority amongst managers and leaders in your organization. You will find that the energy previously being spent on complaining will now be freed up for creating solutions and (ultimately), increasing productivity!