When it comes to saying “no”, can we agree that it’s an important ability? BUT, using the ability requires discretion.
“Just Say No”: The History
“Just Say No” was an advertising campaign, part of the U.S. “War on Drugs“, prevalent during the 1980s and early 1990s, to discourage children from engaging in illegal recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying no. Eventually, the scope of the campaign expanded to cover violence and premarital sex as well as drug use. The slogan was created and championed by First Lady Nancy Reagan during her husband’s presidency. – WikiPedia Saying “no” to negative influences is essential. When does “saying no” become destructive?
“Go” and “No-Go” Decisions
We all have limited resources. We can’t afford to simply say yes to requests for our time, talent and money. But what about your openness to others’ ideas? How often are you quick to dismiss them with a diminishing “NO” or even a “BUT”? To what extent has saying “no” to other people’s ideas become a habit? As a leader, how often do you quash your followers’ brainstorms? How many creative brainstorms are you habitually dismissing?
Taking the “NO” Out of Innovation
Because it’s purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only- two functions, marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs. – Peter Drucker
We can likely agree with Mr. Drucker that innovation is a critical function for building and sustaining a business. What does saying “no” have to do with innovation? It is a diminishing command that shuts down the creativity, synergy and brainstorming needed to innovate. All too many leaders are unaware of the idea diminishing language they’re using and its stifling effects on your team’s ability to innovate.
Addressing Your “Say NO” Habit
Keep a tally for how many times you use the words “no” and “but” for one day. Enlist the assistance of someone around you to help keeping score. Notice the the responses, reactions and emotions of those hearing these words.
Stop using those words for a day. Avoid using them at all costs. Once again observe how others react and respond.
To effectively break a habit, you need to replace it with a new one. Look for opportunities replace saying “no” and “but” with “yes” and “and“.
…is an improv technique for simulating thought and dialog. Improv classes teach this technique to enhance listening and creative thinking. Participants practice building off others thoughts. Imaginations are stimulated. Ideas flow.
Here in Chicago The Second City is a long time leader in improvisational performances. They are now sharing their concepts with organizations.
Start to practice Yes, and… in place of diminishing language. Learn the power of leading and enhancing the thinking of your followers.
The idea to stop staying no for a day came from by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton; executives at The Second City and authors of the book Yes, And.