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Yes, And…..

Remember those words? YES….and what are you doing with them? Are you practicing?

About this time we start getting so excited about summer that it is easy to forget that next year’s planning has started, and with it POSSIBILITY.  May is a great time to really figure out what your program is going to be about. What differences will you make next year and how will you make them?

Sadly, as soon as we start thinking about possibility, we immediately cut ourselves off with those debilitating words "No" and "But". Maybe we could do an overnight for our leader training (But, could we really get the kids focused overnight? But I would be really tired. No, they probably wouldn’t approve it anyway). What if we create a yearlong service competition between Link Crew or WEB groups (But, do I really have time to manage that? But the kids probably wouldn’t stay motivated. No, they won’t take it seriously to begin with).

Surrounded by the words "No" and "But"?

We have a challenge for you. For the next 24 hours, pay attention to all the times you say ‘no’ and/or the word ‘but’. The principle of "Yes, And" doesn’t mean that those words have to be eliminated from your vocabulary. It means that we become more highly conscious of their use. Remember that "No" and "But" are attempts to take power. That is occasionally the right thing to do. For instance, when a small child begins to walk into a busy intersection, a firm "NO" is absolutely the right choice, as we are attempting to arrest their power of self-determination. We WANT to limit their choices.

The problem arises when that need to curtail other’s choices becomes our habit. Become aware of how often we seek to empower ourselves by limiting others. Look for the "Yes, And" in your own daily life today. Find a way to make someone else’s life richer, without impoverishing yourself. That is the power of a "Yes, And" life.

We hear people who say they "can’t" so often that it can become tempting to believe they are right. AND, we know they just haven’t looked for all the possible solutions.

Funding problems?

At Starpoint Middle School in upstate New York, Brian Scully and Christian Johnson and the WEB team just completed their 2nd annual Community Garage Sale. They sold out 35 tables of people selling stuff and had 400 people coming in to peruse and purchase. Huge success for their WEB program! What if you could make that happen?

Leaders not staying motivated all year?

Maybe they forgot their purpose?

At Beloit Memorial in Wisconsin and at Wilson High in Southern California they just finished hosting their “Frosh Awards” night. They get the leaders together with their freshmen one last time at the end of the year and have the freshmen vote for some fun awards for each other, as well as a few chosen by the leaders and teachers.  Leaders love the chance to celebrate their freshmen one last time. At Beloit, they even made it Oscar worthy with a red carpet, papparrazzi and leaders dressed to the nines! How can you energize your leaders late in the year?

Administrators not giving you full support?

At North Farmington High School in Michigan, they run a great program. Still, with all their success, the coordinators had a hard time getting the administration to dream even bigger with them. So they convinced an administrator to go through the 3 day Basic Training. “It was difficult to convince them that it would be worth it since we knew from the outset that our administrator would not be running the program. However, we finally made the case that the training would help them see a bigger set of possibilities for our program." It worked. Returning from Basic Training, the admin team is now a knowledgeable partner with the coordinators to create an even better program.

The solutions are out there. That belief is the beginning of a practice in "Yes, And". Things and people don’t change overnight, AND they do change.



Recommended Reading

"Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive" by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini (Dec 29, 2009)

In the spirit of "Yes, And", we thought you might want a great book on helping you get what you want! This deeply researched and still highly practical book has a number of helpful suggestions for helping you move past resistance. Maybe just reading about persuading others will help you be more persuasive. You won’t know until you try!

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