“Yes and…”

When someone asks you to do something that you think is difficult to do, wrong-headed, or fraught with obstacles, your tendency is likely to argue, complain, or ignore. Instead, just say, “Yes and…”

If you argue, complain, or ignore, you risk losing the respect of and influence with that person. They will likely get defensive at your defensiveness.

Say, “yes and…,” and you will avoid unnecessary friction.

What do you say after, “yes and…”? Whatever it is that you need to make good on your “yes.”

Example: Your boss asks you to work on a new project. You might try to ignore the request and hope your boss will forget. (Unlikely, right?) You could complain that you have too much to do already. And you might argue that this new project is doomed to fail because of politics. Instead, say, “Yes and here’s my approach; tell me what you think. I suggest I make this my number three priority this week; projects X and Y seem more important. And, because of the history of this situation, I ask that you have a conversation with the head of marketing to smooth the way.”

Example: Your client asks you to do a lot more work to complete a project you had thought was complete. You could argue that there’s not enough time or budget. You might complain that the work is unnecessary. Or you can say, “Yes and let’s work out a time line and budget that makes sense so we can do that.”

To your continued success,


PS: “Yes and…,” like any technique, can fall flat unless you have your intent straight. What is your intent? 100% commitment to a win for the other AND a win for you.

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