Almost no one sees it coming.

People are doing their jobs well. Okay, well enough. They hit their marks, they fill their quotas, they don’t make many mistakes. They’re fulfilling their job descriptions, adequately.

And they’re languishing.

But because they all are performing up to their factory specifications, that goes unnoticed.

First, it’s best to assume that complacency exists. What are the signs to look for?

They’re disengaged

Deadlines start to be missed, emails are sluggish, people contribute less in meetings. Have you ever felt like you’ve mentally “checked out?” This is what it means.

They take less initiative

Do you find fewer people volunteering for new assignments and work seems to be on autopilot? Are they taking more shortcuts and “play it safe?” Marching in place moves nothing forward.

They ignore their career path

When people ignore their personal brand, it signals a problem. As others are promoted around them, they shrug. They network less, they find no joy in what they’re doing. It’s a job. Passionless and bored, they make no investments in their future. And that helps no one.

Getting them back on track takes more than just issuing a paycheck and hoping that it will pass. 

How it impacts the company


  • Kills innovation
  • Lowers profits
  • Creates a resistance to change
  • Causes missed deadlines
  • Becomes a safety issue, increasing accidents
  • Raises absenteeism
  • Lowers quality of work
  • Increases critical errors
  • Causes poor customer service
  • Reduces competitive attention

OK, great. But how exactly do we do such a thing in an office? Or worse—from a home office?

Here’s a surprise—it’s not something that can’t easily be fixed.

The secret is reengaging with something that we all have inside: curiosity. Humans are, by nature, a curious species. We ask questions about how and why. Complacency dies when we begin to loosen the straps that bind our curiosity.

It’s time to churn the water a bit. Stir things up. Get their blood moving again. And that’s where Surprise comes in.

Surprise removes complacency with simple missions that keep people engaged. And after completing missions, they receive unique surprises that keep the motivation high.

These AI-powered, science-inspired missions focus upon building fundamentals so complacency never has a chance to settle in. The quality of work never wanes. You’re building an engaged, enthusiastic workforce of people who actually want to do better.

And it works anywhere work is done—in the office, remotely, on the go. It keeps engagement high even as the workplace itself is being reinvented.

Surprise is the best way to solve the insidious threat of workplace complacency. You can try it free with your team, right now.

Don Seaman spends his professional life trying to put the alphabet into the right order to construct coherent thoughts that people can read. Now he does that for Surprise. You can find out more about this failed musician and retired superhero