Accept it. The arts have much to teach the world of business. One of the most brain-opening, situation-altering, idea-launching tools on the planet – truly the holy grail for all things creative – for ideation and problem-solving – can be summed up in two sacred little words from the world of Improv: “Yes, and…”
Imagine a world where there is no “No.”
Where ideas are given free reign to breath and play and run free.
Where the words, “Yeah, but…”
Or, “That’ll never work.”
Or, those awkward-silent-cricket-moments during meetings, aren’t tolerated.
Because people joyfully accept what is offered and build on it. And toss it about. And chew on it like dogs with a squeeky-toy.
As Tina Fey says, “…obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.”
I found this brilliant, under-utilized rule extremely helpful as I’m in the midst of redesigning an exercise. My curmudgeony mind keeps telling me, “No. That’s stupid. No. That won’t work. No. No. No!” And in the face of all that negativity, did I find the hidden jewel? Ha! All I found was the desire to raid the refrigerator and check Facebook, and leave the redesign to another day. And then I remembered…
So I went for a walk. And I started thinking through my first idea, and then said to myself, “Yes, and…”. And low and behold, ideas started popping like corn in my hot little brain, and before I got home, the exercise was designed. And I was energized. And I had narrowly avoided a potential caloric-disaster.
You see, it’s easy to recognize when others are the naysayers. When we’re sitting in a meeting where nobody is agreeing and everyone is picking everything apart. It’s harder to see our reflection in the situation. When we’re doing it to others. And especially when we’re doing it to ourselves.
Because showing respect for what our partners (our colleagues, our direct reports, our suppliers) have created and bringing an open mind to the process, is critical to cultivating anything great. But like with everything else, we cannot give what we do not own. We must first respect ourselves. Respect what we create.
Because each one of us has something amazing to add.
©OnStage Leadership, 2013