Positive Thinking in Action

Turn a negative into a positive and nix the complaining!

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Posted in , Mar 16, 2009

If you read The No Complaining Rule you know it’s a fable about a woman named Hope who has a lot to complain about in her life. Her company is struggling, she’s having problems at home and she has to go to the hospital to get some tests done.

It’s at the hospital where she meets a nurse who teaches her The No Complaining Rule. Hope learns that every complaint represents an opportunity to turn something negative into a positive. She learns to use complaints as a catalyst to identify problems and create innovative solutions. And she discovers a powerful way to better lead her company, her family and her own life.
 
I read an article this week about a real life version of The No Complaining Rule in action. Turns out Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was getting close to laying off a lot of employees. Projected revenue was far below projected costs. The CEO Paul Levy confronted the problem at an “all-employee” meeting, saying he didn’t want to have to layoff anyone. He asked the hospital employees for help, for ideas and solutions.
 
According to the article in The Boston Globe, “The consensus was that the workers don't want anyone to get laid off and are willing to give up pay and benefits to make sure no one does. A nurse said her floor voted unanimously to forgo a 3 percent raise. A guy in finance who got laid off from his last job at a hospital in Rhode Island suggested working one less day a week. Another nurse said she was willing to give up some vacation and sick time. A respiratory therapist suggested eliminating bonuses.”

The CEO said he was getting about a hundred messages per hour with ideas. You can read the article here.
 
This situation is a great example of what we accomplish when positive leaders bring their employees and teams together and empower them to focus on solutions instead of problems. By implementing The No Complaining Rule, we can turn complaints and problems into positive action and solutions. We can transform our biggest challenges into our greatest successes. We can transform a negative culture into a positive culture. We can turn what seems “negative” into a “positive.”

This article first appeared in Jon Gordon’s blog, and is reprinted here with permission. For more about the author, visit his website.

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