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Yes, But or Yes And?


“There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~Lewis Carroll

They are two very small words both listed as conjunctions in Webster’s dictionary. Though small they have immense power when exploring ideas, when sharing a vision with others. One shuts down the other opens up. One brings despair the other hope. One stops ideas from blossoming the other helps small ideas reach their potential. One is pessimistic the other optimistic.

Yes, But is the idea killer, a communication stopper. Sharing an idea with a yes, but type of person generally stops the idea dead in its tracks.

“Let’s volunteer at the shelter today.” “Yes it is good to volunteer, but the shelter is too far away.” “No problem, I will drive and pick you up.” “Yes a car would make the trip easy, but, I need to wash my volunteer clothes so have nothing to wear.”

“This work process can be improved. Let’s revamp it to help the team finish the project earlier.” “Yes, that process does slow down the teams, but, it’s too difficult to change a process in this company.”

Yes, And breathes life into an idea.

“Let’s volunteer at the shelter today.” “Yes, and we can put ourselves on a regular volunteer schedule.”

“This work process can be improved. Let’s revamp it to help the team finish the project earlier.” “Yes that process is really a challenge. Changing it would help the team and if we made the change you suggested we could also implement a new tool to make project development even more effective”

Do you like to tear down or do you prefer to build up? Do you suck the life out of ideas so they wither and die prematurely or do you breathe life so ideas sprout, grow and bloom a thousand blossoms? Are you a Yes, But life taker or a Yes, And life giver type of person?

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