Illuminate the Negative vs. Complaining and Whining

During yesterday’s interview with the Washington Post, I was asked whether an organization who adopts the Illuminate Philosophy will be inundated with complainers. That’s a great question and one which we confronted in the early 90’s when we formed the model.
NO. ILLUMINATING ORGANIZATIONS HAVE LESS COMPLAINING THAN ANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS. Why? Simply because the process for communicating are discussed beforehand with Illuminators and not in others.
What is complaining and whining? It’s a waste of energy- unless the complainer or whiner’s goal is to transfer stress from themselves to others. Not very productive.
Illuminating the Negative is very different. Firstly, it is illuminated in a positive light- in the context of ‘lets make things even better’.
Does the Illuminator need to have the solution?
No. Many believe that one should keep their observations to themselves if they don’t have the solution. That’s crazy. I might not have an extinguisher but that doesnt mean that I shouldn’t alert everyone of a fire!
We don’t always have the solution to the challenges we face yet we still must capture them for consideration, contemplation, brainstorming, etc.
Examples of ineffective comments are; ‘this stinks and I hate it’, or ‘our competitor has the turbo widget and we dont stand a chance of competing’, or even ‘management doesnt have a clue’.
Illuminating individuals might say, ‘Im not at all comfortable with this situation and I’m not sure why. I’ll give it thought and get back with you.’, or ‘in consideration of our client’s new turbo widget, Im wondering what we can come up with to compete with them?’, or ‘it seems to me that our managment might be out of touch with the following and was wondering how we could bring it to their attention.’
Sound unrealistic? It’s not only realistic… it’s real.
Look around at the most productive organizations, those with stable workforces and those which are rated top companies to work for and you’ll see this as a common thread.
Talking WITH people rather than talking ABOUT people is a common characteristic of…. character! Discussing issues openly and allowing for NOT YET KNOWING THE ANSWERS is a common characteristic of…. character. Taking responsibility for Illuminating the Negative in a positive light is……character.
People and organizations with character win. Complainers and whiners lose. Who would your rather be around? Who would you rather be?


2 responses to “Illuminate the Negative vs. Complaining and Whining

  1. Character and personal responsibility…DOING THE “RIGHT THING”..examples of those perservering, positive thinking people. I TRY to avoid complainers ..and I want to keep MY complaining to a “zero” degree..This article seemed to be”all about ME”.!! thanks again, nephew!

  2. Talking with people rather than about people..Love that…When I was a management figure in a company I owned, I learned early on if an employee had an issue with another I was happy to hear the story , one catch, the person they were complaining about had to be present as well for the little chat…Wow did the trips to my office minimize…no more example of talk with people rather than about….

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