For 21 days you cannot complain, blame, criticize or gossip. You wear a wristband and you switch it to the other wrist as soon as you catch yourself doing any of the above. These are the rules set out by Will Bowen who will even send you a purple wrist band (I hear they are on back order), along with his book.
What do I do instead?
Does it mean you are just going to be positive and not notice anything negative around you? Not at all. It means you express what you see, but you stay out of judgment and blame and you rephrase it.
Instead of saying:
“I can’t believe that team is so incredibly slow. They should have finished that part ages ago!”
“The team has not delivered the results at the promised and agree upon time. I am curious as to what happened and I am going to find out.”
It also works at home.
Instead of saying:
“Ah, all you do is watch your youtube (insert favourite social media), I can’t believe you didn’t clean the kitchen!”
“We agreed that you could clean the kitchen. I see it has not been done. What happened? What is your plan for getting it done?”
When you are in blame, you cannot be in kind and supportive mode at the same time. When you complain, you cannot be solution-oriented at the same time.
You may not have a choice in what triggers or annoys you, but you do have a choice in the language you choose. It takes more effort to reframe you complaint into neutral language, but it is well worth it to create a kinder, more productive work place. When we are in a positive frame of mind we see more solutions (the happiness advantage) Blaming, gossiping and complaining do not contribute to this positive frame of mind.
Maya Angelou had some thoughts on a world without complaints:
You can get the official plastic band or the app, but any bracelet or elastic wrist band will do.
I am getting started today - I bet it won’t be as easy as it seems.
I often hear leaders in organizations ask about how they can “make” people take more accountability for their personal and leadership development. You can’t really “make” people do anything, but these 4 simple questions will provide you with lots of insight on how to make personal and leadership development matter to your team.
Four simple questions:
Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (2009) suggest that you know that an organization had people taking ownership of their ongoing development when you could walk into an organization and any person could tell you:
What is the one thing they are working on that will require that they grow to accomplish it
How they are working on it
Who else knows and cares about it
Why this matters to them
Reference: Immunity to change. How to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and your organization. Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, 2009.