In my position I get to exhibit at a lot of conferences. In some cases I get to sit in on the sessions also. AA few months back I had the chance to listen to Mamie McCullough. She had actually worked with Zig Ziglar. She was full of Pithy statements, but one that I really liked was, Don’t complain about what you permit”. Listen to that again. “Don’t Complain About What You Permit”.
How many of us are in relationships (Personal or professional) where we are frustrated about someone’s behavior? Maybe they are always taking a discount a week late. Or perhaps we don’t like the way he never picks up his socks. What Mamie was reminding us was it does no good to complain to your friends about what Steve does or what Debbie is doing. We really have to talk to Steve or Debbie.
Typically the reason we don’t bring it up is because we don’t want to get into it. We don’t want to fight or deal with the aftermath of the fight. It has been my experience that dealing with the issue head on will win out. (If only I would remember this sooner v. later)
A while back I had a client who was telling me that they were getting lots of complaints about the way our agents were dealing with their accounts. I queried, “What’s a lot”? They couldn’t say. So we set up a spread sheet and we tracked it and each week we don’t get a complaint, we would notify the client that we did not get a complaint. Guess what, we aren’t hearing about any complaints.
What we did was we listened to our customer and acknowledged that complaints were bad. Based on our values if we were causing them we would fix it. Then we measured. We tracked the complaints in order to hold ourselves accountable (and to hold them accountable). Finally we communicated on the topic. It’s funny for the first couple of weeks they would reply with something like. “I better double check with the team we may not be reporting them.”
Often time’s customers and colleagues complain or they grouse or they exhibit behavior that is not conducive to the relationship and sometimes it’s just habit. I had a friend on Facebook share this quote:
“Talking about our problems [real or imagined] is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”…Rita Schiano
When we tolerate that, it just wears on us and our organizations or our relationships. When we confront the issues in an open manner; by being willing to listen and act upon what we learn we can often nip the behavior in the bud.