3 Strategies to Fight Complacency in the Workplace

Are you guilty of complacency? This is one of the most dangerous work atitudes of employees. But what makes this mindset a dangerous one for both the employee and the company? Self confidence and satisfaction without the awareness of of the dangers or deficiencies can become detrimental to anyone and any company. Moreover, it is when inadequate thought is given to actions that blinds us from doing what must be done. Unfortunately, this danger is real and sometimes it is fatal. In any company, the right work attitude and the proper mindset can free anyone from risks and improve productivity. However, the real challenge is to constantly fight work complacency. And here is how you do it.

Keep the goal in mind

This strategy comes in many forms. Some would say “keep your eye on the ball” while others will advise to be faithful to the goals of the organization. Regardless of how it is stated, the basic idea is simple – always put the objectives of your actions in full view. When employees veer off the goals, chaos and confusion will surely follow.

Although this advice is used countless of times, it does not lose its potency. In fact, this is a fundamental step in keeping every employee in their right frame of mind. Likewise this is essential so that individual productivity and corporate synergy is achieved. More importantly, when employees remain faithful to the corporate goals, departmental objectives and individual targets; complacency can be eradicated.

In addition, keeping the goal in mind provides employee a yardstick to which they can asses their work. When every employee asks himself whether his actions can help achieve the corporate goals he steps closer to providing unparalleled service and exemplary work.

It is therefore imperative to realign goals at all levels of the organization. When everyone knows what they must strive for, they can understand their roles better and thus provide work and outputs that are not haphazardly done.

Think several steps ahead

In the corporate world, every blunder is costly. Although mistakes can help companies improve its systems, avoiding the mistakes before hand is a more viable option. Complacency at work tend to create situations that are both dangerous and expensive for the stakeholders. One excellent strategy is to have foresight.

Think of it as playing chess. Your move now will affect how the game progresses in the future. As a chess player, I have suffered the consequences of moves I have made several moves earlier. Complacency provides us a security for the future but with little or no logical foresight. This blinds us from the potential dangers. Moreover, we become numb to the inadequacies of our own work. We simply pass poorly accomplished task and this can have profound effects.

It benefits the employee and the whole organization to have critical thinking skills that will improve our understanding of their work and the impact it has on others. Furthermore, contemplating on the “what ifs” about our work can help hone our outputs and prepare ourselves and the organization to the possibilities in the future. When we prepare for the steps ahead, we become more confident in our outputs.

Set your bar higher

One more critical ingredient in fighting complacency is to set one’s bar higher every time. We try to outdo ourselves in order to improve and become better. There’s always room for improvement. I learned the  term Kaizen when I used to work for a Japanese company. Here, we try to improve everything. Even if it is small, it can affect the greater whole.

I know a lot of people who believe that “we should not fix anything that is broken”. The truth is, we are not looking for anything broke. Rather we are here to find ways to make things better. Efficiency in our work no matter how minuscule it may seem can benefit everyone.

When we try to out do ourselves, we no longer compete with other employees. Instead, we compete with ourselves to become better. Constantly setting our bar higher is an exercise on honing our own expertise. Moreover, we can improve our own output by accepting the fact that we can improve. Just imagine how much we can accomplish when we take a more proactive step towards our own improvement.

I have worked with numerous types of companies – and with different types of employees. Some are worthy of praise while others are just memories I try not to remember. But what sets the good employees from the bad ones is the ability to move from complacency to proactivity. In the end, what matters most is one’s willingness to see the consequences of our actions. When we realize the dangers and the deficiencies of our work, we can act on it.

Work attitude and employee productivity go hand in hand. With the right mindset, we can cultivate a culture of productive people and influence business success.

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14 thoughts on “3 Strategies to Fight Complacency in the Workplace”

  1. It kicks me : we are not looking for anything broke. Rather we are here to find ways to make things better. I absolutely agree, this should be the right attitude of every employee, employer and every corporation and companies here in the Philippines. Because with this the success will surely in our countries hand. Thanks for this wonderful tip my friend, Good Morning and best regards to the family.

    • It all start with the right mindset. When we believe we can make a difference then we are in the right direction. There’s always room for improvement. Even if it is slow or small, we can find ourselves in a better environment.

  2. this is a negative “relax” in the workplace.

    I think it is not just the employees having this problem but also the management. The management is too complacent to top on other employees and keep on trusting same employees to do the job over and over again not giving opportunities to others to shine and show the best. I don’t know if I am right about corporate world because my experience in the corporate world was so short.

      • Oh my friend, your brain is working perfectly. You are right. everyone in the company should fight complacency – even the bosses. In fact, it should start with them.

          • Don’t worry, I can still make sense of what you write. You/re doing fine. Or we might just have the same loony frequency so we understand each other.

  3. Nice tips! It’s true that even the most diligent worker can become lax if he/she does not strive to keep the goal in mind

    • I’ve seen employees that could have done more for themselves and their company. it i a shame that they turn to complacent attitude.

  4. The bottomline is love of work. If employees value their work, their employment, they will always be motivated to improve and be efficient always.

    • That is right @disqus_TX22UBwzf9:disqus. We can easily spot employees who value their job by looking at the way they work.

  5. I do not work in an office but your tip is good enough to apply to running a smooth household as well. We should have clear goals regarding home, savings and children etc.,we should plan and not just let each day drift by and try to improve small areas in our life by learning new skills, adopting more efficient ways of working and cutting out unnecessary things and getting rid of unproductive habits


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