Lead with Yes

We like to believe that in work settings that our meetings, email threads, and discussions center around solving problems, but in reality, they center around getting things done. Each department, each person has an idea and a perspective, and when they want something done, they are often unable to see past their own point of view. These discussions, meetings, threads essentially become an explanation for NO. That divides the teams.

In our efforts to inform, educate, and explain, we tend to give more information than will be heard, leaving the audience to sit and mull on the original “no”.

I used to work with a guy who I jokingly referred to as “15 minutes to no”. It was a good approach, but he always ended with no. Understanding this, I instead would approach him with the end goal and ask how to get there, presenting my ideas, but being open to other solutions. In the end, almost always, the solution we worked out together was better, and possible.

Switch the approach by leading with yes. Acknowledge what they want to accomplish, and mention casually the limitations, but focus on how to work out a solution for the larger end goal.

We HAVE to say no at times, it just comes down to leading with YES, brush past the no, and get to the solution. This is the key to understanding your audience. What do they need to hear?