One Simple Rule is Having a Big Impact. I didn’t invent the rule. I discovered it — at a small, fast growing, highly successful company that implements simple practices with extraordinary results.
One day I was having lunch with Dwight Cooper, a tall, thin, mild-mannered former basketball player and coach who had spent the last 10 years building and growing a company he co-founded into one of the leading nurse staffing companies in the world. Dwight’s company, PPR, was named one of Inc. Magazines Fastest Growing Companies several times but on this day it was named one of the best companies to work for in Florida and Dwight was sharing a few reasons why.
Dwight told me of a book he read about dealing with jerks and energy vampires in the work place. But after reading and reflecting on the book he realized that when it comes to building a positive, high performing work environment there was a much more subtle and far more dangerous problem than jerks. It was complaining and more subtle forms of negativity and he knew he needed a solution.
Dwight compared jerks to a kind of topical skin cancer. They don’t hide. They stand right in front of you and say, “here I am.” As a result you can easily and quickly remove them. Far mare dangerous is the kind of cancer that is subtle and inside your body. It grows hidden beneath the surface, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but either way if not caught, it eventually spreads to the point where it can and will destroy the body. Complaining and negativity is this kind of cancer to an organization and Dwight had seen it ruin far too many. He was determined not to become another statistic and The No Complaining Rule was born.
The fact is every leader and business will face negativity, energy vampires and obstacles to define themselves and their team’s success. That is why one of the most important things we can do in business and life is to stay positive with strategies that turn negative energy into positive solutions. Thus the goal is not to eliminate all complaining; just mindless, chronic complaining. And the bigger goal is to turn justified complaints into positive solutions. After all, every complaint represents an opportunity to turn something negative into a positive. We can utilize customer complaints to improve our service. Employee complaints can serve as a catalyst for innovation and new processes. Our own complaints can serve as a signal letting us know what we don’t want so we can focus on what we do want. And we can use The No Complaining Rule to develop a positive culture at work.
By John Benson