How To Create A Work Environment That Says 'Yes'
By: Meredith Mohr October 16, 2017
How would your work and personal life be radically different if your default way of responding to something was in a spirit of yes?
Opportunity. What does it look like? Often, it looks like when someone asks you, “Can you do this?” In that moment, you have two choices. You can turn it down and say no, or you can say yes, even if you aren’t sure you can do it. Saying yes when you could say no creates a habit of cultivating an attitude of yes. You may not always be able to say yes, but you can always answer with an attitude that is naturally leaning towards positivity, growth and improvement.
On a diverse team, this is always a welcome breath of fresh air. It strengthens interpersonal colleague relationships. It fosters trust. And it builds creativity, which enables more and better work to be done.
So where do you begin?
1. Start Small
Try starting by taking a look at what a day in the life looks like for you. Start small and look for small ways to lead with a yes. On my team, I am hitting tight deadlines every day. A day in the life for me is always different. I am constantly working on new projects, talking to various people, and working on different things. One way that I can practice cultivating an attitude of yes is looking for the breaks in the routine.
Am I working on a new project? There’s a chance I can say yes to something instead of “no, I can’t” or “no I don’t know how.” If I’m actively watching for opportunities to challenge myself or learn something new, I am usually also watching for where I can say yes.
If your job relies heavily on routine, start smaller – take initiative where you see it. Go out of your way to be an active listener. These are all small ways that build up to big changes in attitude in the long run.
2. Seek Solutions
Another way you can lead with a yes is by approaching problems on the solution-side of life. One of the things we talk about a lot at Vanderbloemen is “solution-side living”. In fact, we believe so strongly in this that it is one of our core values. We understand that we can’t be perfect – it’s inevitable that something will happen that was out of the plan or done less than perfectly. But when that happens, instead of adopting a victim mentality and dwelling on the problem that arose, we immediately try to channel our thinking to “solution-side living”.
By asking yourself, “this happened and it wasn’t great or it didn’t work, but next time we do this, how can we do it differently?” you are leading with a yes. And by focusing on how you can be creative in your solutions and way of thinking about and approaching problems, you are leading with a yes.
We never want to be “just satisfied” with the work we’re doing. If it went well, we want to go after that and chase that win in the future. If it didn’t, we want to change the process.
When you work hard to cultivate this kind of attitude in your workplace, with your coworkers and within your teams at work, it can be an exhilarating atmosphere to work in. I often find myself at work brainstorming and talking through ideas with my team on how to make previously frustrating, outdated or cumbersome processes better, more efficient and smoother.
You have to say no sometimes, but even if you do have to say no, leading with a yes creates an atmosphere of collaboration that is contagiously exciting.
How can your workplace adopt these practices to create a culture of yes?