Complaining vs. Providing Solutions

Wed, Aug 4, 2010


In any job, you are bound to come up against things that don’t go as smoothly as you think they should. The key to your success and ultimately your company’s success relies on what you do about it.

There are two ways to handle problems. You can complain about it or you can solve it. Complainers will see the problem as just that – a problem. Problem solvers will see it as a challenge and will look for ways to improve the situation. It is easier to complain about something than it is to look for solutions. After all, complaining takes no thought whereas finding solutions requires time and effort. Even worse, people don’t realize how much they’ve fallen into the mode of complaining.

So, what’s the difference between complaining and problem solving?

A complaint is pointing out something that you think is wrong without also providing the following:

1. An explanation of what makes it wrong (“Every month, I get the same data supplied to me in multiple formats which causes a delay in posting my results.”)
2. A proposal for making it right (“I think we should create and institute a standardized form that people will need to fill out monthly.”)
3. A deadline (“We’ll institute the new form for next month’s results process.”)
4. A champion (“I’ll create the form and ask for feedback.”)

Winning organizations have employees that solve problems. When you see an opportunity to improve something, be sure to have all 4 points in place and then do all you can to solve the problem. Along with that, the next time someone complains to you, challenge them for a solution to the problem.

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