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Friday, September 2, 2016

Reacting to Complaints

Sometimes we have a situation where a particular stakeholder, maybe a manager or a client or customer which makes the issue more difficult, is a complainer. They complain about everything all the time. Some people are simply like that. And we allow for that and tolerated for humor the manager was doing that. But sometimes the complaining gets in the way. When you have a meeting and the first 20 minutes of that hour-long meeting I spent listening to complaints and the last 20 minutes are spent listening to complaints then you were losing quite a bit of time and that is quite a bit of productivity and money. So the question is what can you do about the manager or anyone for that matter who spends an inordinate amount of time complaining?

A complaint always reflects an unmet expectation. Someone expect something to happen and it does not happen, or expect that it shouldn’t happen and it does.

An unmet expectation is a problem. Using Jerry Weinberg’s definition of a problem: “the difference between the way things are and someone’s perception of the way things should be” we can see that an expectation is someone’s perception of the way things should be and that does not match the way things are.

So when a complaint occurs it is a signal, a trigger, to begin a problem solving process.

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