I didn't invent the rule. I discovered it during my Nexstar interview process with Jack Tester and Julian Scadden. I immediately discovered what makes Nexstar so much different than the majority of other organizations. Not only do we have a great code of ethics we adhere to, but we have some amazing internal guiding principles to keep us focused on our members. I truly believe these same rules can be applied to you and your team.

Both Jack and Julian told me about one of Nexstar’s guiding principles that really stood out to me. “Bring more energy to work than you take.” They realize that businesses can have what we call “energy vampires.” These vampires can sabotage your business and team by introducing subtle negativity in the form of complaining. Or, they could be consistently waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Unfortunately, these attitudes can become infectious in an office environment. During my interview, I was informed that I could act this way once, and I quickly understood the implication.

These energy vampires are a bit like skin cancer. They don't hide. They stand right in front of you and say, "Here I am." As a result, you can easily and quickly remove them. However, there is a far more dangerous kind of cancer that is more subtle and dangerous. It grows hidden beneath the surface, sometimes slow, sometimes fast. If not caught, it will eventually spread to the point where it can and will destroy the body, or in this case, your organization.

Complaining is a kind of cancer within an organization, and I have seen it ruin far too many of them. The rule of bringing more energy to work than you take is simple – try your best to maintain a positive attitude that advances your fellow workers and your company. One person coming in with a bad attitude can suck the life out of a room and kill your productivity.

This rule has been introduced to everyone at Nexstar and we share it during interviews with people who want to join our team. We let them know that if you are a complainer, this isn’t the right place for you. If you want to focus on solving problems, then we would love to have you and will surely listen to you.

I now realize how brilliant this is. Every team and organization not only needs to feed the positive, but must also weed out the negative. The rule is simple: actively look for ways to turn negative energy into positive solutions.

The goal of the rule is not to totally eliminate complaining. The larger goal is to turn justified complaints into positive solutions. After all, every complaint represents an opportunity to turn something negative into something positive. We can utilize customer complaints to improve our service, and employee complaints can serve as a catalyst for innovation and new processes. Complaints at your own company can serve as a signal that alerts you to unseen issues or outdated practices. Once you listen to those complaints and implement positive changes, you’ll have both happier employees and better systems in place. Start using the “bring more energy” rule to begin developing positive cultures at your workplace.

Does it work? You bet. With one simple rule, you prevent the spread of toxic, negative energy and empower your team to improve, innovate and grow. Ever since learning about and living this rule, I now have the honor and privilege to share it with all our amazing Nexstar members.  Members that are now transforming their culture and team dynamics.

Thinking of adopting this rule? To begin the process simply:

1. Practice 5 Gratitudes – Gratitudes energize you. Count five things you’re grateful for every day. The fact that two thoughts cannot occupy the mind at the same time means this will cut down on negative thinking. You’ll also energize and engage your coworkers by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work.

2. Praise Others – Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Of course, they will grow through their mistakes, but make sure you give three times as much praise as criticism.

3. Focus on Success – Start a Success Journal.  Each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day.

4. Let Go – Focus on the things you have the power to change and let go of the things that are beyond your control.  You’ll be amazed when you realize that once you stop trying to control everything, it all somehow works out.

Oh, and we must never forget, our companies take on the image of their leaders. So start with yourself as a first step toward creating a healthy culture and atmosphere in your company. 

Publication date: 5/14/2018

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