The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work
By Jon Gordon
- Publisher: Wiley
- Number Of Pages: 176
- Publication Date: 2008-06-23
- ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0470279494
- ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780470279496
- Binding: Hardcover
Negativity in the workplace costs businesses billions of dollars and impacts the morale, productivity and health of individuals and teams. In The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work, acclaimed motivational speaker Jon Gordon shares an enlightening story that demonstrates how you can conquer negativity and inspire others to adopt a positive attitude. Based on one company’s successful No Complaining Rule, the powerful principles and actionable plan are practical and easy-to-follow, making this book an ideal read for managers, team leaders and anyone interested in generating positive energy.
Summary: Spotlight on Complaining
The No Complaining Rule could be considered a self-help book. Though the way the information is presented brings it into an entirely new category.
The No Complaining Rule is told as a story. The story of Hope, Vice President of Human Resources at a computer company. The story starts out with Hope going through some person problems, she comes into work to find out the company is also experiencing some problems. Her boss, Dan leaves it up to Hope to help them find their way out of this mess, specifically with employee moral and negativity. Through some encounters with others Hope bases her plan for long term improvement on the No Complaining Rule. She uses this rule for her company but also herself and her family.
Throughout the book we get to learn about the No Complaining Rule ourselves and how it works. When I originally heard about this book I was expecting lots of lists, bullet points, and charts. There are hardly any in this book! I really liked the way this information was presented. It was presented in an entertaining way which in the end helps you retain the information much better than a bunch of lists and charts.
This book has made me think a lot about my negativity and complaining. I'll take a short detour and talk about my experiences with complaining. I, personally don't like to complain to people that aren't my family or close to it. I complain to them a lot they already know me, what can i do about it (ask my mother). I think that too much complaining can be seen as a weakness. But on the other hand if someone asks me how I am I'm not going to lie and say "Oh fantastic".
Here are the things I mainly complain about (ask my mother again):
1. I'm tired
2. I'm tired
3. My blank hurts (insert a rotating variety of body parts)
In the book they explain how there are two kinds of complaining, random mindless complaining that has no reason or point, it is done out of boredom and just stresses everyone out. Then there is complaining for an actual reason. It is explained that it is alright to complain but you better come prepared with a way to take action to fix this complaint. It's also pointed out that you should complain to someone that can actually do something about your complaint not just a random bystander.
It is suggested that you take a week to try out the No Complaining Rule, it sort of showcases to you all the negativity you feel and let out of your mouth. It puts a spotlight on it so you can start to control it. It is also explained that once you complain you should add a but to the sentence and add something you are thankful for. For example: I hate getting up at 6am every morning to go to work (I do), but I am thankful that I am able to have a job (I am).
There is definitely a lot of great information presented in this book and it is done in such a way that it's rather exciting! It is great for upper management, managers, regular people, just about anyone!
Summary: How to create a culture of problem solvers rather than problem sharers
Some complaints are justified, others are not. Personally, I have found that chronic complaining (even silently to myself) accomplishes nothing positive. However, for many people, it seems to be an essential part of their personality, almost a way of life for them, and can be contagious among others, helping to create a toxic climate. It's best to avoid such people whenever possible but sometimes that is impossible. What to do? That is essentially the question to which Jon Gordon responds in this slender but thoughtful volume. "I didn't invent the [No Complaining Rule]. I discovered it - at a small, fast growing, highly successful company that implements simple practices with extraordinary results." Readers who "find" this rule in Gordon's book and then "obey" it will, in my opinion, do themselves and countless others a great favor: they will think of possible solutions to their complaints and, over time, become problem solvers rather than problem sharers.
The business fable has become a very popular genre and Gordon takes full advantage of its components (i.e. characters, plot, conflicts, tension, climax) to dramatize his key points. Briefly, here's the situation. Hope is the VP of HR for EZ Tech and, as the story begins, the highly profitable company suddenly faces a serious problem: The computer batteries it sells are catching on fire and that product defect has brought into question the capabilities of its "rock star" CEO, Dan. We also learn that Hope is a single parent of two teenagers who complain that they are neglected and Dan has recently become concerned that she is not devoting sufficient attention to her EZ Tech responsibilities so there are great pressures on her both at work and at home.
Dan convenes his senior management team, accepts full responsibility for paying so much attention to achieving short-term financial results while ignoring employee concerns, allowing negativity and morale problems to fester. "This is not a problem of a few negative bloggers. They're just a symptom. So is our battery problem. Our real problem is negativity and our negative culture, and we need to address this immediately." And then.... What happens next is best revealed while reading the book.
Others have their own reasons for praising this book. Here are two of mine. First, Gordon is a skillful raconteur. I almost immediately became interested in the "story," especially in Hope, and that interest continued until the final page. That is not true of all business fables, some of which have "stick" characters, a goofy plot, and a contrived ending. Also, Gordon devotes his attention to a major challenge to all businesses: How to establish and then (key word) sustain a workplace that is a positive environment, one in which there are mutual trust and respect, one in which those involved are problem solvers rather than problem sharers, and one that keeps financial success and the welfare of its people in proper perspective. At one point, Hope observes: "Of course we have to look at numbers. But it shouldn't be our focus. Because people deliver the numbers, people should be our focus, and if we focus on them they will deliver the numbers we want."
After concluding the narrative, Jon Gordon provides a "No Complaining Rule Action Plan," a "No Complaining Week Personal Action Plan," and a "Are You a Complainer? Assessment." He also invites his reader to visit www.NoComplainingRule.com to obtain additional information and resources.
Those who appreciate business fables are encouraged to check out Jason Jennings' Squirrel Inc., any of Patrick Lencioni's (notably The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable and Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors) and Marc Allen's Visionary Business, a book that has thus far not received the attention it so richly deserves. My other recommendations include Denning's The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative and Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor co-authored by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and James O'Toole with Patricia Ward Biederman as well as Michael Ray's The Highest Goal: The Secret That Sustains You in Every Moment and two books written by Bill George, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value and his more recent True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership with Peter Sims.
Summary: Good stories if anecdotes are good enough to convince you
After reading Douglas Hubbard's How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business, I'm more weary of the use of anecdotes in making general rules or, for that matter, self assessments like the one Gordon uses - even when the anecdotes are as entertaining as his.
Still, Gordon makes a convincing case for a kind of "rule" about complaining (more of a guideline, since he admits some complaining is desirable). His objective is to curb the obsessive level of negativity as the primary reaction to an undesirable situation. He promotes, instead, a disposition of action to correct bad situations and who can argue with that?
In all, it's an entertaining and quick read that seems to hit a chord with a lot of people.
Summary: The No Complaining Rule
The book "The No Complaining Rule" is an easy reading book with great application to everyone. The book flows with short chapters to keep one's interest. It is based upon a real company where the "No Complaining Rule" is in force. The story centers around a HR person named Hope who needs to generate an action plan to deal with the negativity at her company. The company is in crisis with batteries they manufacture igniting. Hope proposes "The No Complaining Rule" which is a tremendous success.
Summary: From negative to positive!
The title tells it all: no complaining. Author Jon Gordon, an inspirational speaker and consultant, delivers his message in this book through a captivating story that many corporate executives can relate with. Focused on the circumstances surrounding Hope, the VP of human resources at an IT company during a dangerously precarious business situation, Gordon takes the reader from negativity to productivity via the "no complaining rule."
Personal challenges, the company's product failures, co-workers' low morale, even the traffic to and from work, all contribute to how easily Hope harbors negative thoughts leading to negative actions. But serendipitously, picking up an inspiration from a hospital visit, she discovers that with the No Complaining Rule, she and everyone who follows it could be empowered to take the positive road.
Using Hope's interactions with her family, doctors, colleagues, and friends, Gordon succeeds in imparting a sure-fire way to stop negativity at home and in the workplace. Towards the end, he provides all the tools and directions to implement the No Complaining Rule and effectively change the culture of any corporation into a dynamic and solution-oriented environment.
Everyone has a take-away from this book. Aside from the No Complaining Rule Action Plan for businesses, schools, sports teams, and families, Gordon includes the "Are You a Complainer? Assessment" section and the "No Complaining Week Personal Action Plan" for the reader's personal use.
While Gordon admits that he was a professional complainer, he said, "The goal of this book 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."
Readers, who may feel like complaining about having to read through yet another inspirational book, should think of it as another opportunity to learn something that could improve their lives. The No Complaining Rule is, indeed, such an opportunity. - Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com