It has been a week since I was able to connect with a group of like minds at the Genius Shared micro-conference here in Chicago. As is usually the case when I’m surrounded by smart people, my brain is still processing the intensity of intelligence gathered at the (aptly named) Inspire Business Center, located in the West Loop.
The conference was kicked off with a talk by Mike Dwyer (@cruiter on twitter) who, in addition to drawing analogies between entrepreneurism and improv comedy, invited us to consider the power of the phrase “yes, and…” Employed as a verbal “baton handoff” between improvisational actors or comedians, the phrase “yes, and…” builds upon the previous performer’s story and expands it into something different.
“Yes, and…” is expansionist in nature and allows us to consider things we may not have previously. It also allows for collaboration and teamwork across industries, individuals or silos within companies.
But what happens when you always say yes? Is there a time when you must say no? Yes.
Strategic deployment of “no, but…” can free up LOADS of your time, while still allowing for growth and expansion. As leaders and self-starters, we can be guilty of a few things that can bite us in the shorts:
1. We take on more than we can handle.
2. We overestimate our available time.
3. We have a range of strengths and want to use them to help others.
Before saying, “yes and…”, take the time to truly consider requests of our time, talent and energy.
ÂPeople think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.” ~ Steve Jobs
There’s a way to say no and still be able to help others. Learn to use the magical phrase, “no, but…”
“No, but…” has a couple of wonderful side effects that benefit pretty much everyone concerned. If someone asks you if you can take on a project and it won’t fit within your focus, reply, “No, but I know someone who may…”
When you make this recommendation:
1. You are doing what you can with what you have.
2. You are providing the person who has asked you for a favor with an option.
3. You have increased their sphere of connections.
When you deploy the “no, but…” be sure to contact the person you’ve referenced as a professional courtesy.
Knowing when to say “yes, and…” or “no, but…” takes time to learn. However, once learned, your productivity will grow and more than likely, your stress will decrease.
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.