Yes, and…

by: Anthony Demangone

As managers, we’re trained to look for trouble. Good execution demands it.

“What could go wrong here?” Once you find the gopher holes, you fill them in and move on.

A wonderful trait…at times. But sometimes, it can cause problems.

Someone comes to you with an idea.

“Great idea, but…”

Yes, but…”

Marshall Goldsmith wrote about this a great deal in his famous book, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There. He was kind enough to share with me his famous list of “20 annoying habits” of successful people. A good number of them involve the idea of passing judgement, which steals ownership from others.

A colleague shared a nice article recently that challenges you to use “Yes, and,” whenever possible. It forces you out of the “yes, but” mindset, and it opens up communication more than you’d think.  From the article…

“In a negative situation, use ‘yes, and … ‘ instead of ‘but,'” Rodriguez advises. Sound advice. Listen to the difference: “Your work is great, but we couldn’t use it because you didn’t deliver it on time.” Instead: “Your work is great, and it would be really helpful if you could deliver it on deadline so that we can be sure to use it.” Removing the word “but” takes the opposition and conflict out of a sentence. It brings you closer to a cooperative solution to the impasse.

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