As Karen and I dined at a Denver-based restaurant chain, the manager, Nate, stopped by our table to see how we were doing. One thing led to another, and—as is my wont—I mentioned the QBQ! book to him and gave my usual 15-second book summary. It goes like this:
“Yep, QBQ! is an easy one-hour read about personal accountability and how to deliver outstanding customer service while eliminating blame, finger-pointing, whining, procrastination, and complaining.”
When I hit that last word, he was all over it like a cheap suit. 🙂
Shaking his head, Nate declared, “Man, we’re always working on that around here. We held a team meeting just this morning on the topic of complaining and how it hurts the team.”
That’s when my wife chimed in with a QBQ! book story I hadn’t heard yet. Earlier that day, she’d visited our local UPS store. The manager there has a QBQ! book because I gave it to him last Fall.
During this visit, the UPS gent said to Karen, “Ah, so you’re Mrs. QBQ! Let me tell you what we do with your husband’s book: When team members start complaining, I tell them to go to the backroom and read three chapters of QBQ! They always return with a better attitude!”
Complaining—We All Do It.
In Raising Accountable Kids, my wife of 37+ years actually wrote this:
John wears a sign around his neck at home that screams “CHIEF COMPLAINER.” Being a verbal guy who likes to express every thought as declaratory statements, candid observations, and unsolicited counsel, John often sounds like he’s complaining. Sometimes, he is.
The problem with complaining is, well, everything. It wastes energy and time while bringing down the “mood” of teams, departments, and homes. It rarely adds value.
Sure, once in a while complaining can initiate problem-solving and something might be made better as a result. Mostly, though, complaining is just victim thinking in the form of a lousy verbal habit that grates on others.
Knowing his propensity to complain and the impact it has on others, John sometimes asks this fairly odd but critical-for-him QBQ (tutorial on QBQs):
“What can I do right now to keep my big mouth shut?!” 🙂
Of course, better QBQs would be:
“How can I be more positive?”
“What can I do to find the good?”
“How can I offer a solution to the problem?”
Those are outstanding questions and anyone can ask them, whether she/he works at a shipping store, restaurant—or your organization.
What is the #1 consequence of complaining?
When do you tend to complain the most?