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Executive Corner – Identifying Red Flags: The 3 C’s – Complaining, Comparing, and Comfort

Michael Clegg | 03/08/2023

IDENTIFYING THE RED FLAGS: The 3 C’s – Complaining, Comparing, and Comfort

Lately, the world has been focusing on employee onboarding and retention. The topic that can derail that is near and dear to my heart – the company’s culture.  It is the most overplayed topic, and for some reason, it continues to be one of a leader’s biggest challenges. 

Over the past few years, Q Works Advisory has used an excellent behavior assessment tool incorporating key behaviors, communication style, and where you get your energy.  We use this internally as well as with our clients.  The data in this assessment helps us gauge how to relate and engage with our employees. Too often, companies “hire for skill and fire for behavior.” We should learn their behaviors earlier in the relationship.  It gives us insight into how to connect with these individuals. 

I wrote in a previous article that we measure our culture, and I show exactly how we do it.  That means that we grade our employees based on our values.  (Fun, Integrity, Commitment, and Kaizen) It’s important to be clear about your values and beliefs and what behaviors are expected.   

With many years of leadership experience, I know how important cultural fit is for successful and satisfying employee-employer relations. To provide you with deeper insights into the importance of a healthy corporate culture, I’m sharing an article from the Muse with 9 signs of a toxic work environment.    Each one of these speaks to an organization lacking Psychological Safety.  Things like:  

  • Lacking trust   
  • Employees are afraid to speak up 
  • Poor interpersonal relationships 
  • Afraid to make mistakes 

Many behaviors can be toxic to workplace culture. Let’s start by sharing a few of them. If there is a positive about these behaviors is that they are easy to spot.

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Tim Kight: No BCD (Blame, Complain, or Defend)

There are three behaviors that Tim Kight talks about. He has been preaching these concepts to organizations throughout the world. Those behaviors are “No B.C.D.” It stands for blaming, complaining, and defending. These traits are toxic. They show that you need a growth mindset. The biggest takeaway from this behavior is that it shows that you project things onto others rather than taking responsibility for yourself. Lacking ownership is a negative trait. Finding a way to trust people will be difficult if they demonstrate these behaviors. Relationships without trust aren’t going to be positive ones.  This challenges the entire workplace. I strive to achieve a No B.C.D. workplace.  We are all human.  Each of us has moments that we aren’t proud of. Those times should be the exception, not the rule.   

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The 3 Cs

Two other negative behaviors to add to complaining comparing and comfort. We are human. We show these behaviors from time to time. Having self-awareness helps us move away from these behaviors. We all start from different points in our journeys. I firmly believe that you are going backward if you aren’t growing. The world is rapidly changing all around us. I learned at an early age that comparing myself to others or to the things that others have is a toxic trait. In reality, the comparison doesn’t have any input on my outcomes. It can only distract the path that I’m taking. The following negative behavior is comfort. The discussion about comfort usually stirs up a conversation. To grow, we must choose effort over comfort. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t slow down at times. Of course, humans need rest and recovery. However, comfort can lull you into a state of complacency. Complacency is a self-satisfaction that can interfere with growth.

When I first went to College, I chose comfort for most of my 1st semester. I didn’t think I needed to study. Comfort got me expelled, and I had to miss over two years of school to go to work to save money to pay for school because student loans aren’t given to students who fail out of school. When I returned to College, I chose effort. I ended up making the Dean’s List because I worked hard.   

I talk about something called ”the first choice.”  I am referring to our first choice every single day. When that alarm clock goes off in the morning, we all have a choice. We get to choose effort or comfort. The average American takes 24 minutes to get out of bed to start their day. The average American chooses comfort. Kick the sheets, get out of bed with a plan, and focus on execution. Those that choose effort most frequently will earn the fruits of their labor sooner.