A Culture of Yes

Parents understand through years of firsthand experience the dispiriting parental habit of the reflexive no. “Can I have a soda?” No. “Can I Get twoo scoops of ice cream instead of one?” No. “Can I play video games even though my homework isn’t done?” No. “Can I put the car in the dryer?” NO!

The “Just Say No” syndrome can creep into the workplace too. Companies come up with elaborate, often passive-aggressive ways to say no: processes to follow, approvals to get, meetings to attend. No is like a tiny death for smart creative people. No is a signal that the company has lost its start-up verve, that is too corporate. Enough no‘s and smart creatives stop asking and start heading to the exits.

To keep this from happening, establish a culture of Yes. Growing companies spawn chaos, which most managers try to control by creating more processes. While some if these processes may be necessary to help the company scale, they should be delayed for as long as possible. Set the bar high for that new process or approval gate; make sure there are very compelling business reasons for it to be created.

Say yes. In fact, say yes as often as you can. Saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow.

Summing-up: Saying yes leads to new experiences, and new experiences will lead you to knowledge and wisdom. An attitude of yes is how you will be able to go forward in these uncertain times.

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