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January 26, 2015

The No Complaining Rule

One Simple Rule is Having a Big Impact.

I didn't invent the rule. I discovered it. One day I was having lunch with Dwight Cooper, a tall, thin, mild-mannered former basketball player and coach who had spent the last 15 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 the country and Dwight was sharing a few reasons why.

Dwight told me about The No Complaining Rule. He said he had read The Energy Bus and realized that while energy vampires can sabotage your business and team so can subtle negativity in the form of complaining.

Dwight compared energy vampires 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 more 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 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 rule is simple: You are not allowed to complain unless you also offer one or two possible solutions.

Dwight said, "We introduced the rule to everyone in the company and now share it during interviews with people who want to join our team. We let them know that if you are a complainer this isn’t the right place for you. If you want to focus on solving problems then we would love to have you and will surely listen to you."

I knew Dwight’s idea was brilliant. Every team and organization not only needs to feed the positive but must also weed the negative and the No Complaining Rule is a simple, positive way to turn negative energy into positive solutions.

The goal of the No Complaining Rule is not to eliminate all complaining; just mindless, chronic complaining that doesn’t help anyone. 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.

Does it work? You bet. With one simple rule you prevent the spread of toxic negative energy and empower your team to improve, innovate and grow. Ever since learning about the rule and writing the book I've heard from hundreds of companies, schools and teams that have transformed their culture and team dynamic with it.

NCRTo begin the process simply:

1. Read the book.

2. Watch and share these No Complaining Videos with your team.

3. Utilize the individual and team No Complaining Action Plans in the back of the book.

4. Take the Are you a Complainer Assessment in the back of the book.

5. Discuss the cost of complaining and negativity with your team.

6. Post a few of these posters as reminders.

Are you going to adopt a No Complaining Rule? Share on my blog, Facebook or Twitter.



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