Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Yes Business

As an educator and parent, I'm in the Yes Business.

"Can my students crash in your room and learn _____?"
"Can our students bring in technology from home?"
"Can I take apart that computer and take pictures?"
"Can we do this with our iPods next year?"
"Daddy, can I write a book?"
"Daddy, can we make a princess castle out of those boxes?"

"Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes!"

Being in the yes business means being in the let's-make-it-happen business.  And that's exactly where we all need to be.

We don't want to be in the:

  • "Yeah, but" business.....  -- Don't let the logistics of the challenge be the first things to come up.  Everything worth doing has logistical challenges and risks- let them arise naturally as part of the problem-solving adventure.
  • "What you don't understand is _____" business  -- Don't be this person.  No one likes this person.  They are a fun squasher.
  • "What is everyone else doing" business  -- Don't be like everyone else.  Honor the idea as novel, develop it, then cross reference how others might be attempting.
Because when someone is coming to you with an idea, they are already excited by it.  They are already psyched to do it.  They wouldn't be asking you if they weren't.  The worst thing you can do is respond with anything but an unqualified YES.  Because the minute you qualify it, the asker becomes deflated.  The idea loses it's present power.

So when someone asks you if they can try something:

1.  "Yes!  That sounds cool!"
2.  "Let's work together to figure out how to make it happen"

With those two simple steps, I think we could encourage a ton of great ideas and innovation.  And before you know it, the process will flip- when you ask your students if you can try something new, guess what they'll say?  When you ask them to approach something in a new, challenging way, guess what they'll respond with?


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