Massive Avoidable Waste

We waste massively when we focus on incompetence: mine, yours, or another’s.

Maybe you think your boss is a jerk, your business partner is cutthroat, or your employee is lazy. Perhaps you say your colleague can’t cut it, your spouse doesn’t understand, or your kids are hooligans. Have you complained about any public figures–government leaders or media stars–lately? Or do you think that you yourself are somehow lacking? It matters very little whether your assessments are accurate or your facts prove anything. The longer you focus on what’s wrong with anyone, the longer you’ll wait for the success you desire.

Focusing on incompetence–criticizing–feels bad to and limits the effectiveness of everyone involved.

  • The critic spends energy trying to get the person being criticized–and often others–to see and do it his or her way. This approach may work in the short term and that sadly encourages more of it.
  • It will always fail in the long term because the person being criticized will divert energy to defend against the critic’s onslaught. (Yes, this is true even if you are criticizing yourself.)
  • And observers are distracted by the sideshow.

With criticism in play, everyone’s time and mental clarity are limited and unavailable to collaborate on new solutions, create something of value, or delight clients. Show me a failing organization and I’ll show you a den of critics. (It ain’t the economy, competition, or strategy folks.) Show me someone who criticizes her or himself, and I’ll show you someone who is stuck.

Of course, we can avoid this waste. The answer is not to pull your punches and allow less-than-desired situations to persist. Far from it. The answer, explored in the next post, is to separate the problem from the people.


In your corner,



PS: Exercise: In preparation, see if you can catch yourself judging or criticizing someone (including yourself) today. Watch especially for unspoken–only thought–criticisms.


4 responses to “Massive Avoidable Waste”

  1. Jay Hodgson Avatar
    Jay Hodgson

    Excellent Mike. I really appreciate the way you are “globalizing” you comments (to family,friends, life in generaln but also business). I have noticed that successful people almost never criticize others, and if you complain about someone, they just don’t say anything, or smoothly change the topic.

    1. Mike Avatar

      Hi Jay,

      A good observation! The truly successful know this stuff. The rest of us are getting there as fast as we can. 🙂


  2. Frank Baylis Avatar
    Frank Baylis

    Hello Mike,
    I am enjoying reading your various post. This one I find is a particularly good reminder to always focus on the positive and avoid all forms of criticism. Easier said than done however. 🙂

    1. Mike Avatar

      Hi Frank!

      Thank you for reading and for your comment.

      Yes, it is easier said than done. Like many similar ideas, the hardest part is remembering to do it. Tomorrow’s post will cover some ground re: how to do it.



Leave a Reply