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Yes and No - Effective Decision Making

Aug 17, 2007
Every decision we make, in business, in life in general, is bounded by just two options.

Like an on-off switch, we make one or the other - there are no variances to this.

Because it's as simple as Yes or No - and so often we get it wrong.

You see it's those times that we say 'Yes', when it would serve us much better to say 'No' and we often say 'No' when there are real benefits in saying 'Yes'.

So, let's take a look at those situations we get ourselves into.

Saying 'No' More

It is quite natural to say 'Yes'. We do it every day in our lives and it is the least confrontational thing we can do.

Agreeing to the wishes of others pampers to our inner need to be liked, to be loved.

Man is a social animal. We like to be liked by our peers - and so we go along with them.

In business this is no different. It is tough, for most of us, to say 'No'. So we agree - we comply. And with what consequences?

Saying 'Yes', way too often, leads us to complications we could do without. In the worst cases we take on tasks that others ask us to do, without question, which grinds us down, makes us bitter and generates a 'blame' culture.

We agree to things that others, maybe stronger, maybe just more thick-skinned, thrust at us.

Passing accountability to us, who say 'Yes'. Way too often.

One solution to this is simple. At least put off 'Yes' decisions some of the time.

By positive procrastination, we can put ourselves off making the wrong 'Yes' decision in haste - so make it tomorrow by coming up with a few 'let me think about it' phrases.

By training ourselves, on just a few occasions to start with, we build our strength to say 'No' a little more each day. People start to realise we aren't a pushover anymore.

Another solution, is to agree only on our terms. To say 'Yes' with a proviso. That a new ad-hoc piece of work can only be done if something else is dropped. Or on our timescale.

Pushing back on someone else's urgency helps them to realise that there needs to be a different way - and they gradually learn to treat you differently too. New 'boundaries' are set. And everyone wins.

And now the opposite!

Accepting a 'Yes' is OK!

There is a converse to the saying 'Yes' too often problem.

Sometimes we don't say it enough. Maybe it's a British thing. Maybe our 'reserve' means that whatever happens, we can cope. We can manage. So that when people offer us help. Make a gesture, that we feel we 'shouldn't' accept it.

So we don't.

And the problems pile up.

Listen up - accepting help, by saying 'Yes', everyone is a winner again. You win, because you accept help. You show that you are open to support and you model that it's OK - to the rest of your team.

There is another win. If you offered help to someone and they accepted, how would you feel about it? You would feel a stronger bond to the person who accepted. It's nice to be wanted.

Offering support and having it accepted is a magnificent feeling.

By being the one who says 'Yes' you show others that it's OK too.

And others ask as well, and accept.

The team grows by development support generously given and gratefully accepted.

This repositioning of 'Yes' and 'No' works in business as well as at home. The simple examples shown here are snippets of what this change in your philosophy can create - there is much more opportunity here.

To say 'Yes' less and 'No' more.

To say 'No' less and 'Yes' more.

In the right places.
About the Author
2005-6 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, www.coaching-businesses-to-success.com
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