Don't just say no !

April 14, 2011


Whatever the issue.  Whatever the idea. The first response was, no. Not an adamant no, not an angry no, not even a thoughtful considered no. But a calm, clear, instant ‘no’.

This response obviously kills 100% of all forward motion, innovation, creativity and expansion of ideas. The NO response is similar to the, ‘I cant see that working’ response.  Working with such individuals’ results in people giving up in trying to share ideas, enthusiasm disappears and so does motivation.  Do YOU use the relfex NO? Even if your first response IS indeed no, don’t say it! Give the thought some time, at least discuss the idea and its possibility with the person bringing it to you. Ensure you let them know that you appreciate the fact they had an idea and brought it to you for discussion. Perhaps the idea will not work for you, but would it work for another group, department or project? Finally, if the idea won’t work, explain why! Encourage them to keep thinking, to be motivated and to bring more ideas. Don't kill forward motion and ideas with that one word, NO.

Next time:  Meetings, critical methods of communication

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.