Who’d of 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.
In the improvisational world, "Yes, AND” really is the magic phrase. Improvisation is an art form, in which a group of actors arrive onstage and create a show without a script, props, or costumes. It works because they are always thinking: "Yes, AND…"
No matter what an actor says onstage, he or she knows that not only will their troupe immediately accept and support the idea, they will also add to it.
By constantly accepting whatever is contributed onstage (Yes), then adding to it (AND), an improv troupe can build entire one-act plays out of thin air.
This one theatrical technique is very powerful when brought to our work and life.
When you apply "Yes, AND…" at work peopleHowever, most people do not use Yes, AND, they use Yes, BUT instead.
feel heard, valued, and accountable.
They see a path forward where prior they saw a brick wall
They have a deeper understanding of what their teammates bring to the table
So, why would changing "AND" too "BUT" be such a problem?
The biggest difference is that:
“AND” leads to PossibilityFor 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…”
Vs“I know you want to be the new head of the department, and…“
One sentence 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 to have this sound so simplistic – it calls for an open mind AND being more committed to a productive conversation than being “right”
I go into depth on this topic in my podcast this week.
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 are difficult conversations to be had AND it is so necessary that we have them.
When listening to someone who you disagree with, bring “Yes, AND” into the conversation and find the common ground. Build on what each other is saying to find your way.
Where would you benefit from bringing Yes, AND into your daily life?