It is a gross understatement to say that my time in the Marine Corps had “somewhat desensitized my appreciation for soft side psycho-babble.” Nonetheless it was apparent that this friendly request was also an ultimatum and off I went to “spend time with Beth.” Was I ever surprised at the wisdom of this lady and her ability to significantly improve who I was and what I did!
One of her concepts that has stuck with me ever since is “Complaint = Goal.” As we discussed our way through, in greater depth than I thought possible, this principle made life changing sense. I was used to one or the other of two complaint approaches:
- The tough union manufacturing environment where “complaint = grievance”
- The office bureaucracy environment where “complaint = gripe, moan, bitch and complain”
And so we did, as I began recruiting a less than excited workforce to participate in continuous Improvement teams whose members purpose was defined as “complaint = goal.” In a mere 12 months these teams delivered the first profit in 15 years, a severity rate of 9, and a culture revolution based on solving the problems that had been millstones around their collective necks with the old complaint paradigms. They became excited about taking action to solve the problems that had been their miserable side kicks for so long. They became leaders of a new culture that put an end to complacency with focused actions performed by the people who had skin in the game.
This new approach to complaints can work in your safety department, organization, family life, and personal life. Why not give it a try?