265 - What Is Your Moan Index? - John Laurito

265 – What Is Your Moan Index?

Back from his amazing and well-deserved vacation with his family, host John Laurito brings us another valuable information that leaders and HR professionals should be very aware of. What is your team or company’s happiness level? Do you know what you need to do? What is your moan index? All that and more in today’s episode, so make sure you tune in.

[0:00] Intro

[3:40] The moan index – let’s dive deeper

[6:18] Factor #1: Volume

[6:51] Factor #2: Rate

[7:21] Factor #3: Intensity

[8:22] Factor #4: Significance

[13:16] Look for little things that you can easily solve—their impact is greater than you think

[14:14] How the moan index helps John make decisions

[15:24] Where is that feedback coming from?

[20:22] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership, and what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large over the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! All right. 

John Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep into all things leader-related to leaving yourself and leading others, I’m John Laurito your host today on this magical April day, just coming back from a phenomenal vacation with my kiddos in Maui, Hawaii. For those of you who have not been to Hawaii. Especially now we make this an absolute goal at some point in your life to get out there. It is unbelievable. I mean, I got to say we came back for those of your Facebook friends of mine, you’ll see all my pictures on Facebook and I even look at the pictures and I’m like, God, they do not as beautiful as they are. It does not do it justice. 

John It is just this place where you can go and it soaks up the scenery and the vibes, and everything is just the most relaxing place ever and truly breathtaking views. For those of you who’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about, especially the road to Hana. And my recommendation is if you go, try to do your best to not only go to the road to Hana, that’s a beautiful journey. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey, which is incredible. All these winding roads, I think it’s one hundred and. One hundred and sixty-seven curves, or maybe six hundred and twenty-seven curves, I don’t know something like that, somewhere between a hundred and sixty-seven and six hundred and twenty-seven curves. 

John It’s a winding road and we like just, you know, sheer cliffs on both sides on one side and you finally get to the road to Hana. And it’s just this cute little town. Nothing significant. It’s just the whole journey to get there. But most people turn around and come back, which is a full day, you know, the road to Hana and back. But if you keep going around, you go through this area called the upcountry, which is indescribable. I can’t even I can’t even tell you about it. It is unbelievable. You get to this one with the kids and I rented a jeep, which was awesome and you round this curve. And again, there are sheer cliffs at this point. On this side of the island, there are literally no guardrails, so you’ve got to be careful. It is scary at some points, but it is worth it. It is unbelievable. We rounded a corner and again you’re seeing waves crashing against this beautiful rock cliff and everything, and you round the corner and there was this rainbow. 

John I mean, like, am I talking about an everyday rainbow like this thing? It was like it was painted in the sky and we were driving into it. It was like it was right in our car like we were in the middle of the rainbow is unbelievable. It’s amazing. We had so many great times that I even ask the kids I’m like afterwards, at the end of the week, I always say, What was your favorite part of the trip there? Like, you know, that moment when we saw the rainbow, it’s like unbelievable. And it’s true. Like, literally, I felt the same way. I’m like, Yeah, you know, that was like just it was truly breathtaking. So if your Facebook friend of mine takes a look at the picture you’ll see, and if you’re not so mean, invite, I’ll be if I will be Facebook friends, Facebook buds. So in any event. And where was I going with that? Well, anyway, I’m back. So back here, I know what I was going to say is I know there’s been a little gap here. 

John I tried my best to record up to like two in the morning before I left on the trip and got some episodes out. But now I’m back in action with all kinds of topics I want to talk about. So Netivot, OK, today what I want to talk about, I want to talk about something that pertains to all leaders leading an organization, especially large organizations. We do our best to run organizations and companies that are thriving, that are successful. They’re full, happy people that feel great. And a really positive culture. But at the same point as a leader were challenged with having to make decisions sometimes that are really tough decisions. We can’t please everybody. And that’s not the way to be a leader is to try to please everybody all the time. 

John You’re just not going to do that. So ultimately, you have in every organization a certain percentage of people or a certain amount of people that are unhappy or maybe complaining or upset or whatnot about whatever various issues that may be. So I’ve always looked at something called what I call the Moan Index, and it helps me as a leader. And when I work with other leaders, it helps them become conscious of what’s really happening and get a good pulse on the organization and avoid the very common mistakes that leaders tend to make in regard to complaints or dissatisfaction or general levels of moaning in an organization. And that is either to over-respond and misinterpret some type of feedback or complain or to totally ignore it, then something that should not be ignored. 

John So the Moan Index is a way for you to become conscious. Ultimately, what is the real level of discontent in an organization? And again, my point here is not to say that there should be none. If you’ve got all happy people in the organization, that’s not necessarily a good sign because at times again, as a leader, you need to make tough decisions. You need to ultimately move in different directions. It’s going to create discomfort for people. There may be people that want to hang on to the old way of doing things. It’s all kinds of issues that could cause people to complain about stuff. Even people that are ultra happy and extremely excited and very, very intent on staying with the organization for many, many years, there will always be things that they can point to that they’re maybe not happy with. 

John That’s OK. That’s not bad, necessarily. It’s just getting a really good understanding of what that is, what things you need to take action on and what things you need to maybe not take action on what things you maybe need to just lend an open ear to, and what things you may in some cases need to take some drastic and quick action on. So here’s the Moana index. It really comes down to four different. For actors, the first one is volume, which is what percentage of your organization is complaining right now. What’s what percentage of your organization is unhappy and how do I measure that you can measure that in a lot of different ways. You can do different people’s surveys and confidential types of surveys. 

John You can measure it just based on the people that have voiced their discontent. Whatever way you’re and part of this is to measure it against a baseline and see your trend as an organization. But what percentage of the population is unhappy? The next factor is the rate. So how frequently are complaints being lodged or how frequently are you hearing discontent? When you ask people how things are going, how frequently are they bringing up the problems that they’re bringing up or negative things versus positive things? So that’s the second thing is the rate of complaints or discontent that you’re hearing and soliciting and ultimately coming across. The third measure is intensity. 

John So when people complain, how what’s the intensity of it? I mean, is it truly, you know, is it? Are they at their wit’s end? You know, are they ready to leave or they’ve just dealt with this so much? They’re just, you know, their all-time high level of anger, frustration yelling. I mean, is that is it that intense? Is it a general level of, Hey, I’m really not happy with this, and it’s been a persistent problem? But there are more, you know, it’s contained. It’s not. It’s not an exasperated, frustrated I’m ready to walk out. Or is it the type of thing where it’s thinking, thinking, thinking? And yeah, I guess so. By the way, yeah, this is, you know, this is an issue. 

John They really have to think about, whether it’s really a complaint, it’s not something that naturally comes to mind. So on a scale of one to 10, what’s the intensity of the complaints that you’re hearing? How really worked up our people about whatever it is that they’re complaining about? That’s the third measure. And then the fourth one is what is the significance? What is the actual complaint about and how significant is the complaint? And for those of you watching on YouTube, see, my light just went out well, OK? 

John Interesting. And by the way, quick aside, anybody that’s a lightning expert you can see. I get all kinds of stuff going on here in my studio with lights coming in window ledge, lights, and all this stuff a more than open to feedback on how I can light this place better. I’m in the process of redoing my studio here. You’re going to see a whole different backdrop in a short period of time. But anyways, quick aside, my lighting just blew out on me. So I’m not. I’m visible, but not as bright, and you can’t see every zit on my face here anymore. So anyway, so where was I? So the significance of the complaints? So what is it that actually people are complaining about? You know, is it that the beef that they have are things that are genuinely getting in the way of them doing more business? Is it beef? 

John Is it complaints and concerns that they have about the culture that they find is either threatening to them or not safe? These are major, major issues, right? Are the complaints the fact that they don’t like the coffee or, you know, the carpeting in the building? They don’t like or that, you know, the lights are the wrong shade of color, whatever. You know, these are minor things. Now what I will say, as a leader, sometimes you have easy opportunities to put a deposit into the emotional bank account with somebody by fixing some of these insignificant problems that really may not be very big in your mind, but for some reason, they’re big in their mind. And it’s a relatively easy fix. You know, if I had somebody that was complaining about the lights and it’s an easy light bulb change, you know, it may not be anything I’m concerned about, but hey, if it’s something that’s bothering them and it’s an easy fix, OK, why not? 

John Why not do it? I love the show, Ted Lasso. Great leadership show. And if you if you’ve watched, this is one scene at the beginning when Ted takes over the team. And this is a really frustrated, classic kind of turnaround job. So if you’re ever your leader, that’s taken over an organization that’s struggled, that has been struggling and your job now is to come in and turn this around. This is a great series about the whole concept of leaders having turnaround leadership. I got to do podcasts on this on the whole leadership lessons from Ted Lasso, but one of them at the beginning, Jamie complains as the captain of the team. I think at that time it was about some of the issues that they have in their griping about. And one of the things on the list is the fact that the water pressure in the shower sucks and he’s like, you know, he’s really frustrated about it. 

John And. It’s like, I want the hack, but it was interesting because of all this list. That was one of the first things that Ted did is he brought somebody in to fix the water pressure. The shower, now a coach could have said, and Ted could have said, Well, you know, what’s the big deal? Does that really affect your play on the field? I mean, is that the reason why we’re not winning games now? It’s not. So forget about it. Just don’t worry about it. Just, you know, suck it up. It would be easier for a coach to say that and rationalize not taking action. But here was an easy thing. And he did take that step. He fixed the water pressure. He even says anything about it. He just let the players come and take a shower, and all of a sudden they’re like, Wow. 

John And it was the first realized it was a major positive deposit into the emotional bank accounts of the players because they realized for the first time they have a leader that actually cares about them. Most leaders would have stood aside when it doesn’t even matter, it doesn’t contribute to our game. I mean, what are you talking about? Water pressure? Go home and take a shower? But here was somebody who took their complaint seriously, even though it would have been easy for him not to. He did something quickly, and it had a major impact that’s called leverage, right? The small things you can do to create a massive difference that starts to earn the trust level of the players. 

John The bottom line is, people, what do people want in a leader? They want somebody who cares about them, who truly wants to help them that they know has their best interest in hard and who’s competent and who will actually do stuff and can get stuff done. Well, that’s just satisfactory. At least three of those, you know, fix the water. They know nothing about his coaching, but they sure as I know that he cares about them and that he really wants to help them and truly wants to put them in a better place and that he can get stuff done. I mean, that says a lot that builds the trust. Now they’re open to his coaching and his leadership more than ever. So brilliant little thing that he did to pave the way for lots of success moving forward. So look for those things. I mean, honestly, truly look for them. 

John Don’t just let them come to you, but look for those little easy, solvable things that may even be, you know, insignificant but bigger on the intensity scale. You know, those are the things, those easy fixes that can really, really go a long way. So let’s review again. So these four things volume what percentage of your organization is complaining right now are unhappy rate? How frequently are they complaining? Intensity? What’s the intensity when you’re hearing this, this discontent? And then lastly, is the significance. What is the issue itself that they’re complaining about how big of a deal really is it? And how much does it impact their ability to do their job and contribute to the overall vision and mission of the organization? Bottom line. 

John What I look at are these four things, and it helps me assess do I need to take action? And if so, what is that action look like? OK, I don’t want to overreact, but I see leaders do this all the time. I saw a there was a great business meeting that a company put on a full-day meeting, and it was for seven or 800 people at the end of that full day. There was feedback given, and it prompted the person the next day to make a comment to it, almost apologizing for what the specific feedback was in regard to. And I remember asking the leader afterward and talking about it. It turned out of those seven or 800 people, it was one person, one person who gave that feedback. 

John Now, the other seven hundred and ninety-nine might have thought phenomenal. What the great that one person was loud and voiced the opinion and ended up causing this leader to make a comment that they might have even swayed the opinion of other people. So ultimately, that’s ultimately what caused this, this change. So my point is you have to be very conscious of where that feedback is coming from. And is it a loud but very small portion of your organization in which case it can feel like it’s a larger portion? We’ve all been there before. You know you got two percent of the organization that makes it feel like it’s 20 or 30 percent. OK, you’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to look at that, OK? 

John And again, my message in this podcast is not to ignore, but simply to be conscious of what what is the true scenario here because I can get overly swayed by positive feedback. I can hear the things I want to hear and turn a blind eye to the things I don’t want to see or and I can look for supporting documents and comments to support my own beliefs. That’s a bias. That’s a cognitive bias. I can get swayed the other way, right, I can easily get influenced by the people that are influential that might have a louder voice or be more apt to give me that feedback. As a leader, that can be a really difficult trap, almost that you fall into and it’s a slippery slope. And then it affects your leadership for the rest of the organization. 

John So I could be rolling out a program, a new program. I might have 20 people involved in this and I might have one or two people that give negative feedback, which as a relatively new leader, that could give me the impression that, wow, this program must think. Maybe I assume everybody else feels that same way. Don’t assume that that’s not necessarily the case. So we have to listen. We’ve got to ask questions and get the true scoop. How what percentage of your organization is unhappy versus happy? And again, when I say rate, I’ve always taken a look and said, OK, are people complaining more or things happening? Are people? Am I hearing more complaints more frequently? If that’s the case, that’s not a good thing, right? If I’ve got the same percentage of people that are unhappy, but they’re complaining more frequently while things are moving in a bad direction less frequently. 

John OK, moving in a more positive direction if they’re getting louder and angry or more frustrated, that’s a problem. If these issues go from being small things to more significant things, that’s a problem. You know, I had a leader once that was paint picking on something with me that was really, really small. And I realized at that point this was when I was a new adviser and it was like our new leader, rather. And there were like 10 things that I had to do as a leader, and I was doing very well. I was ranked number one in the Market Group in the region. In that role and nine of those things that we’re doing really well, but it was number 10 that I was not and I was not doing well, and he just chose to really make a big deal about that now. 

John Part of that is good. It was kind of that perfectionist and just nitpicking and driving on everything, and it forced me to become, I think, in a lot of ways, a better leader. But it also helped me to be conscious of that, and I almost took that as a compliment. I’m like, OK, if that’s what he has to look for and ultimately get to have a complaint or an issue about me. All right. That’s not a bad thing. Granted, he’s just not the type that’s going to give me all the positive feedback on the other nine things that I’m doing great. But I can almost in my own mind, reframe it as, Hey, he just gave me a compliment because he picked on number 10. So I’m not. I’m not doing number 10, right? Well, I’m kind of going to interpret that as I’m doing one through nine really, really well, because that’s what he had to spend. 

John That’s how far down the list he had to go to find out something I’m doing wrong. Does that make sense? I’m hoping that makes sense. So I’m open. This whole conversation makes sense. Again, the point is not to ignore, but it’s to really understand and don’t make blanket assumptions. Don’t assume that because three percent or four percent or five percent of your organization is unhappy that they’re representative of the whole. Don’t assume that they’re not at the same point. My point is to get the true scoop. Find out. Figure it out. You ask questions. Do surveys, walk around, talk to people and make your organization one where people feel comfortable giving you feedback? OK, I’m going to go through another episode in the next one is going to talk about how you create that environment because there’s a method to that to creating the environment where people feel like they can give you that type of criticism or feedback or ideas or whatnot because as a leader, you control that. 

John So that said, again, the Mon Index, the volume times, the rate times, the intensity times, the significance of the complaints or issues, or all that kind of jazz. So I hope that helps today. That’s my message for you. I’m going to leave you with that. 

John I hope all is going great as always. Like, share, subscribe. All that kind of good stuff. Go down below. Give a five-star review, please. I need that. That helps. Believe me, I want to get this out to more and more audience members out there. And of course, I love getting calls. I’ve gotten a lot of calls from you recently, sharing different issues, and challenges. 

John I use that as future podcast topics. Keep them coming. I’ve got a bunch that is lined up that I’m working on based on your feedback, so thank you and your ideas. I truly do appreciate that. I’m here for you. Have a good one. Thanks. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com.

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