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Champion Leadership Blog

A 4-Step Process to Eliminate Complaining & Whining in a Small Business Culture, Step 1

In my most recent blog post I introduced a 4-step Communicate to Quell Complainers framework.

To read that overview go here.

The four components of the Communicate to Quell Complainers framework include:

  1. The E.C.C.O. Redirect Conversation (you are here)
  2. The 3-C Problem Assessment
  3. The I.A.O. Situational Assessment
  4. The A.I.R. Actionable Decision Model

This article explains how to use The E.C.C.O. Redirect Conversation as your first attempt to respect the individual, but not respect the habit of complaining.

E.C.C.O. is an acronym with four components and goes like this:

You first must empathize with the individual.

This allows them to feel you are listening and understand what their issue or challenge is and why it is a problem for them.

Then, you quickly want to confirm, which reinforces the empathy.

You are confirming the reason they are coming to you.

In this confirmation you give them a binary frame, which includes the opportunity to select one of only two options.

They are either coming to you to vent to get something off their chest, or they are coming to you to resolve the issue.

Then you confront and offer, which are intertwined and reinforced in your final sentences

At this stage you are offering to help them resolve their problem at a time to be scheduled in the near future.

In the same sentence you are also confronting their venting issue letting them know first that you have a prior commitment that is a priority you need to address shortly.

And secondly, you make it clear that if they are venting you will allocate some few of the limited minutes you have available for them.

It would sound something like this:


“I can see you’re really (emotion expressed) about (the situation/experience that is the cause).

Can I ask you a question?

Are you telling me this because you just want to vent, or because you’d like my help/advice in resolving the issue.

The reason I’m asking is if you want my help I’m happy to find a good time where we can discuss ways I can help, and right now I’ve got to _____________ so I really only have ________ minutes to listen.”


It’s that simple.

In just 15-20 seconds you’ve empathized and demonstrated compassion with the offer to help while also respectfully confronting and redirecting the individual by limiting your time investment with them.

What do you think?

In the next three articles you will learn the next pieces of this sequential coaching conversation frameworks so you can Communicate to Quell Complainers.

In the meantime, leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this concept to this point and any strategies other that have worked for you in these situations.

’til next time, Communicate with Power,

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach

There is 1 comment. Add yours.

  1. A. K. M. Suzaur Rahman

    Well, very simple but clear and effective way to initial process of engagement with commander in chief of trouble making in most company. Really delicious.

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