26th Mar 2018

Switching Off Complacency

Let’s start by asking yourself whether complacency shows up anywhere in your life? In your work? At home? In the car? Does it affect your health? Your wealth? Relationships?

Why is that? The bulk of these will be important to you yet we let complacency dictate how much energy we put into them. The answers may be uncomfortable to think about but should come as no real surprise. Most people are complacent in many aspects of their life. It’s part of being human. It’s what we do.

What is complacency? Simply put, it’s when we become accustomed to doing things in a certain way or tasks flowing a certain way and we grow oblivious to the issues that may be ever present around them. Those issues have many guises depending on what area of life they relate to, but when we look at workplace safety this often relates to hazards and risks.

What triggers it? Routine and habits mainly. Not having to think. Experience. Knowledge. Confidence. Comfort. We disengage our mind, our focus, and our brain. It’s not our fault, strictly speaking. It’s how we are wired. Our brain uses a lot of energy to think rationally and logically, to take in information, to focus for long periods, and to control how we react or respond to the environment we operate in. To cope, the brain switches off when it can, and where it can. It looks for shortcuts. It conserves energy. Quite smart really but it can be dangerous. Like a bug in the system.

What can we do about it? Awareness is an obvious place to start. Create awareness. Talk about it with others. Especially when things are feeling and looking the same. A bit like groundhog day. Same people doing the same things every day with the same outcomes. People going through the motions. Leaders going through the motions. Putting energy into motion disrupts this. Energy into motion is ‘e-motion’.

Putting the right emotion into our mindset, thinking, feeling and actions will interrupt complacency. Stories and experiences which focus on the ‘why’ instead of just rules and procedures which focus on the ‘what and how’. Creating new habits. Breaking routine. Talking. Listening. Getting interested in what could go wrong. They all re-engage the brain and reduce the opportunities for complacency to show up.

When we get too comfortable, complacency shows up. Being safe for a prolonged period of time creates a level of comfort. So, getting back to the first question. Where is complacency showing up?

Talk to us to find out more about what you can do. Put your energy into motion.

Nada Wentzel Presents the 2° Shift Concept

One thought on “Switching Off Complacency”

  1. Have you guys (or anyone else) studied people in roles where prolonged attentiveness is crucial such as F1 and other motor sport drivers? Are they at the far end of the bell-curve and that is why they have percolated to the top of these sports or can anyone learn to be as attentive as Daniel Ricardo?

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