Thanks to David Spade (and my own leadership journey) I have realized a flaw in a very popular leadership principle. You have seen the commericals – the answer is always "NO"! If you take a look around the leadership blogosphere very long you will find post that sound a little like this:
"saying no is the first step to saying yes", "you can only say yes if you are willing to say no", "say no and increase productivity", and so on.
I don’t want to come on too strong and say that this is 100% wrong, so I will say this: Being a NO person is 99% wrong and 1% is the margin of error!
In leading the Creative Team at Seacoast Church I found that I was developing a no mentality without even realizing it. In my mind it was about priorities, it was about time, it was about setting boundries. Here is what I have found:
1. Strips you of influence.
Most of the time the project still happens. It just happens without your influence. So the very thing you said no to…happens because you said no.
In our case we were saying NO to a ton of graphic requests. The graphics were still happening – just without our influence. How does this make sense? Our boundries had fenced us out of having influence in the very playing field that we were created to play in.
2. Creates lack of trust from teammates.
To give an example from a key leader rather than a team. Our Senior Pastor, Greg Surratt is a great example of this. His answer is always YES. Approach him in the hall and ask if he thinks it would be a good idea to have a new ministry that reaches blonde headed people over 6 foot tall who hate basketball – his answer will be Yes. Ask if it is possible to have coffee with you and discuss a passion near and dear to your heart – his answer is yes. It is yes, get with ___________ and lets make that happen. In the case of the 6 foot tall people he would point you to our small groups Pastor and we would start a small group for blondes who are 6 foot tall – in meeting with him, it might not end up being coffee, but an e-mail conversation or a quick hit meeting…or even better his answer might be Yes, I would love to – but it would be even better if I could point you to ______________. In all of these he has built a culture that knows Greg is behind me. I trust him nd know he cares!
If we are always saying no, people will start to not even ask, they will just do it.
I understand the thinking and I do believe that there are several layers of "Yes", but I am convinced that the principle should be – "The answer is always yes".
5 Ways to Say yes and NEVER say NO:
1. Yes. I can do this in your time frame and in your budget.
2. Yes. I can do this in your budget but I am going to have to change the time frame.
3. Yes. I can do this, but not in your time frame or your budget.
4. Yes. I can do this, but I do not think it is the best way. May I make suggestions?
5. Yes, I can have someone else do this for you.
What saying YES does.
1. Gives you influence. If you do not want influence – you are not a leader.
2. Gives your teammates faith in you. A yes man or women is seen as faithful.
3. Give you the emotional deposits to be able to lead.
If I want an easy life- Say NO.
If I want influence – Say Yes.
I am a Yes Man and proud of it!