Based on our grades from school most of us are going to think that ABC is probably the place we want to be. However, that does not apply to this set of circumstances. In this case, I define ABC as Always Blaming and Complaining.
What do you hear from the ABC crowd? Blaming.
- blaming others
- blaming circumstances
- blaming family situations
- blaming traffic situations.
Plenty of blame to go around. They never seem to hold themselves unaccountable.
Along with blaming, complaining is a very close relative. Complaining about the circumstances that they seem to have no control over.
One of my favorite adages through the years is something called The Serenity Prayer.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
With the complainers, everything seems to fall into the “I cannot change” category but there is no serenity. There is a lack of courage to identify and change the things that are possible to change.
In many cases, they seem to want to accomplish great things or tackle some new entrepreneurial endeavor. But the first thing out of their mouth is complaining about why that’s not going to happen.
- Government regulations are going to keep them from succeeding
- Nobody will listen to them
- Investors won’t invest in them
Always blaming and complaining is not where you want to be.
DEF stands for Dependable, Effective, and Friendly.
Being dependable means doing the things that you have committed to do. It has as much to do with integrity as it does anything else.
- When you commit to something
- When you agree to something
- When you say you will do something
Can people depend on you? People figure that out quickly. If they can’t depend on you:
- They’ll stop turning to you
- You’ll do less and less work over the time (becoming expendable)
- Those who are dependable get more and more assigned to them because they can be counted on.
- Over time, this causes great disruption within organizations.
Are you effective? We all tackle our work, both individually and in teams, but how effective are you?
All kinds of issues can come into play here. One is perfectionism.
Do you have to have everything absolutely perfect? Does everything have to be perfect before you release it? Perfectionism usually gets to a self-esteem issue and really doesn’t do the organization any good. Do the work that you need to do. Figure out what’s important. Stay focused on those key important issues and be effective at what you accomplish.
Friendly. This may sound a little out of place here, but one interesting experiment I run with teams is titled The Perception Exercise.
I share one list of characteristics with half the team and another list with the other half. Once they’ve each observed their list, and understood it, I start asking them about the characteristics of this individual.
- Are they dependable?
- Are they effective?
- Are they honest?
- Are they trustworthy?
- Will they be successful in life?
- Do you want them on your team?
And one half of the team typically scores that individual much lower than the other half. The interesting difference is that the lists are identical in terms of characteristics, except for one word.
One list contains the word warm. “This tends to be a warm individual.”
The other list contains the word cold. “This tends to be a cold individual.”
Those two words, whether we perceive the person to be warm or cold, friendly or not, shapes our whole view of their performance, contribution and future success. We even decide if we want them as part of our team or not. Psychologists tell us that we will make a warm or cold judgment in the first 15 seconds of meeting a person.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to figure out where we are ourselves, and we need to get some feedback on this. But quite honestly, I believe that if you are very thoughtful, intentful and honest with yourself, you can decide whether you fall more on the ABC side or the DEF side. Keep in mind that if you fall on the ABC, always blaming and complaining, you may be attempting to avoid some immediate pain, but in the long term, none of that will lead to success or happiness in your life. However, if you’re one of those people who fall on the DEF side of the scale, dependable, effective, friendly, we can predict with good accuracy much more long-term happiness and success and productivity in your life.
Give yourself a grade, see where you come out on this one.