it should be
so that you could not decide in an instant to say it,
so that upon reflection you could stop
in the middle of saying it. “
I am a self-admitted lover of “no” in the workplace. I am because I learned at a very early age in business the power of saying a clear cut ‘no.’ In addition I have an inherent distaste for ‘yes people’ and have built a healthy fear (yes, fear) of yeses that create a false sense of positiveness in suggesting the impossible is possible.
No has the power of stopping therefore it can afford to be concise. In fact, in its conciseness it actually can often represent the sharp cleaver which cuts the cord to wasted energy and wasted actions.
And while ‘no’ in and of itself is incredibly powerful, ‘yes’ in its abruptness seems … well … too abrupt.
Too simple for a word that does anything but encourage stopping … it more often is the initial push to movement <not necessarily forward but in doing something>.
Yes. <as a statement … as an agreement>
Let’s face it, yes, just like thinking in general, is a quagmire.
It is a quagmire because far too often the majority of yeses are asked without either party <or one of them> truly understanding the problem therefore they have no right to be asking for a solution.
This is important, REALLY important, because business is all about choices – making them or agreeing to them or shutting choices off.
Simplistically every yes is a no to something else. This is a really important point because saying yes as a ‘can do’ person or organization or simply because it is “the mantra” — simply means you will continually fail to recognize limits. I will suggest the limits you fail to recognize are the “truth” ones you blast through as you blindly commit to something believing “you will figure it out as you do it.”
Sometimes you can figure it out.
But most of the time you do not … or at least not the way it should be done.
Of course, the ‘yes sayers’ hold up completion at the end to justify the ‘yes’ ignoring the clumsy process on the path to completion or even the compromised solution which is represented in the completed action.
I tend to believe at the core of the quagmire is that there is actually more positive thinking & attitude in a ‘no’ then there is in the typical ‘yes’. Yet, on the surface, a ‘no’ appears negative and a ‘yes’ appears positive.
No’s, and I mean ‘non-lazy’ or ‘non irascible contrarian’ no’s, are positive in their ability to sharpen whatever else is about to happen.
Yes’s are more about … well … the energy of obligation. An obligation or a commitment to a larger thing than a simple ‘yes’ often communicates.
And maybe that is where I think Yes fails us the most. It should be longer, more complicated and less brief in its utterance.
It should be reflective of the obligation, the responsibility and the choice of the moment.
It should be larger in its reflection of its overall impact not just on the moment of its utterance but also in the ripples of its effect as it reverberates almost infinitely through a business decision.
That said. I do not have research on this but my guess, based on years of experience, is that more businesses fail and more businesses have lost money, people and wasted energy based on ‘yes’ more than ‘no.’
I am not suggesting we never say yes. For god’s sake … the fundamental bedrock of a business is based on a ‘yes.’
Yes. Let’s go do it.
Yes. We will implement that idea.
Yes. We will hire that person.
And while yeses embrace possibilities & opportunities & hope they, uhm, also are wrapped in cloaks of vulnerabilities.
Well. After reading those last two sentences … kind of makes you think that yes “should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it. “
I imagine my final thought is to suggest the next time you think of flippantly offering a ‘yes’ to something, you take a moment and ponder the obligation that accompanies a ‘yes.’ For “yes” is not just an agreement to something, it is an obligation OF something.