Who would have thought this one phrase, "Yes, AND" could make such a difference in our ability to connect, find the most robust solutions, and create space for differing opinions to come together in productive, harmonious ways.The world of improvisation has much to teach us in our lives, careers, and businesses."Yes, AND” really is the magical phrase that makes improvisation work. The actors on stage know that whatever is thrown to them, there answer is "Yes, AND". They take what was given to them and build on it.So what happens when you bring this into your life and work?
When you apply "Yes, AND…" at work people: However, most people do not use “Yes, AND”, they use “Yes, BUT” instead.So, why would "BUT" be such a problem? The biggest difference is that:
Feel heard, contributing to the project, conversation, or solution
See a path forward where prior they saw a brick wall
Have a deeper understanding of what their teammates bring to the table.
AND leads to Possibility,For example, if I am giving you feedback on your performance and I say,
BUT leads to Limitation
I know you want to be the new head of the department, but…Without even finishing that sentence one leaves you with hope, the other with hopes dashed. Even if what came after “and” was that you weren’t ready. It implies that with a little work or with more time you will be. I don’t mean for this to sound so simplistic – it calls for an open mind AND being more committed to a productive conversation than being “right" and collaboration.With all that is going on in the world today, being able to communicate clearly and create space for a variety of points of view to be present together is so very important. Yes, they can be difficult conversations AND are so necessary that we have them.When listening to someone who you disagree with, bring "Yes, AND" into the conversation and find your common ground. Build on what each other are saying to find your way.Where would you benefit from bringing "Yes. AND" into your daily life?
I know you want to be the new head of the department and…