“Don’t become a statistic.” You’ve probably heard that saying a million times. Usually, however, it’s correlating something with your health like cigarettes and lung cancer, but have you heard it in the company of complaining?
Negativity comes at a cost. A cost to your health, your wealth and your personal life. It has been reported that 90% of doctor visits are stress related and the number one cause of stress is co-workers and their complaining (according to Truejobs.com). If we had to put a dollar amount on it, negativity costs the U.S. economy $250-$300 BILLION per year in loss of productivity (according to the Gallup Organization). Negative employees can not only scare off customers and decrease morale but also can impact performance and output.
Well, we here at Financial Technologies Forum decided not to let negativity cost us, which is why we adopted “The No Complaining Rule.” This is not something FTF made up (though we wish we did), but something our President, Maureen Nolan Lowe, discovered while researching ways to improve the workplace environment. She came across a book by Jon Gordon titled The No Complaining Rule and was hooked. In his book, Jon explains the effect negativity was having on his life (his wife threatened to leave him), and howNo Complaining Rule a friend of his told him about the no complaining rule he instituted at his company. Not only did this advice improve Jon’s life (he is still happily married), but Inc. magazine rated his friend’s company as one of the best places to work in Florida. After reading this, we decided why not give it a try?
The rule isn’t as simple as it sounds. Yes, the essence is quite simple, Don’t Complain, but it’s about changing the way you think and perceive things. Once you start to monitor yourself, you’d be surprised how much you actually complain. When Maureen told us we were going to quit complaining cold turkey, I was shocked. Over the course of the day, I caught myself several times wanting to complain about trivial things, but wow, I didn’t think it was as much as it was.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “It is impossible to simply stop complaining for good,” and you are correct. There are things that will happen during your day that you will want to complain or vent about, and that’s okay, but remember – it’s not just about complaining. It’s about being able to recognize how to turn situations around for yourself and become a problem solver instead of a complainer. In the words of Jon Gordon, “Every complaint represents an opportunity to turn something negative into a positive. Let your complaints about problems move you to solutions.” So, in other words, you need to remember to stay positive and that when things go wrong, that’s life, and when things go wrong at work, don’t consider a project a failure or even worse give up.
We’ve decided that instead of mindlessly complaining about the hurdles we encounter at work, we would adopt Jon Gordon’s tactics. Some of these tactics include: If you must complain, make sure you have at least two solutions for how you are going to solve that complaint/problem before going to your manager. Also, we practice seeing the positive in our complaints by using the “but rule,” which means if you have a complaint you need to add “but” to the end of it and turn it into a positive. An example found in the book is, “I hate to drive to work but… at least I have a job.”
We also practice the 5 things to do instead of complain, outlined in Jon’s book, including:
1. Practice Gratitude
2. Praise Others
3. Focus on the Success
4. Let go
5. Pray and Meditate
And to make sure we stick to our new rules, we have a No Complaining Jar. Each time someone complains without making it a describe the imagepositive or coming up with a solution you have to put $1 in the jar (and as you can see we’re still working on ourselves). All of our “complaint dollars”, however, will be donated to charity, so as you can see we are still turning a negative into a positive!
I must say that all of these tactics have had a great effect on us. Morale is up and no one dreads coming to work (not that we ever did!) and we have become problem solvers instead of chronic complainers. Now while you can see from our jar that I have not gone off complaining completely, I have definitely improved and it’s evident in my work.
What do you think? Do you feel this is something your company is capable of doing? Let us know if you and/or your company gives it a try and how it works out!
In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to help you stay positive check out some of Jon’s No Complaining Posters