How to say “yes”

As part of a change team, or a continuous improvement team, you will be presented with other people’s ideas and opinions on how to do things “better”.

You’ve already established your vision and you’re running with it… it seems to be commonly understood and bought into… why would you pause and consider making a change based on somebody’s suggestion?  Well, because it might actually be a great idea — and the right answer will be to say “yes”.

Take a breath, think it through, and see if you can incorporate the suggestion in what you’re doing.  If you adopt and integrate, you’ve just created another change agent who is going to be on your side and helping you to drive the change.

If the conclusion is that the suggestion isn’t beneficial, and might actually do harm to what you’re trying to accomplish, then it’s time to stand your ground and say “no, thank you, but no”.  Whenever you say no, there is a very real possibility of alienating the person making the suggestion.  It will be important to say no in such a way that they understand the perspective of the change team, and they come to understand the vision — maybe to the point where they could be a champion and change agent, even after you’ve just shot down their idea.  Use the gentle art of persuasion.

Sometimes people can’t be persuaded and you may have to agree to disagree, but be sure you’ve made an effort to understand their perspective.

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