Pivoting from “Yes, but…”

How many times have you been a part of a conversation that starts with a compliment of some sort and ends with the a phrase that included the word “but?” If you are like me this has happened to you many times. And at the end of the “but” statement you feel like the compliment just evaporated. Likely you felt like this raccoon searching for his dissolved cotton candy. Where did that compliment go? It was just here.

I have been reading the book, Yes, And by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton. The authors have many great points in the book, but the one I want to write about here is the pivot from “Yes, but” to Yes, and.” When you use the “Yes, but” statement you effectively say “no.” There may be a reason to say no, but likely there are also many reasons to say yes. Pivoting to “Yes, and” can:

  • Lead to creative problem solving
  • Create better learning environments
  • Help people feel heard in general and more specifically in contentious conversations.

Let’s take an example. You are having a conversation with your boss. In the “Yes, but” world it sounds like this:

You: I came across this great new marketing tool. We could use it at the big fair we have coming in in the fall to promote product X.

Boss: Yes, that sounds like a great idea, but we don’t have the money in the budget.

Did you hear the shut down that happened there? Did you feel the “great idea” slip away? Let’s try again, this time using “Yes, and.”

You: I came across this great new marketing tool. We could use it at the big fair we have coming in in the fall to promote product X.

Boss: Yes, that sounds like a great idea! Can you pull together some information on how much it will cost and what we can expect our return on investment to be? We don’t have new money on the budget and maybe we can find an opportunity to move money around.

Do you feel better about this conversation? I do. In truth, maybe the new marketing product won’t work out for the fall fair. However, when you pivot to “Yes, and” you signal to the other person that:

  • You heard them
  • You also give the other person the opportunity to provide you with what you need (information to back up the purchase)
  • And if you make an informed decision to not purchase this new marketing tool, your employee knows why.
  • And, you have created an environment where your employees are looking out for ideas that will help your business AND will share them with you in the future!

How will you adopt this pivot from “Yes, but” to Yes, and”?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: