A mindset worth changing (even though it’s hard to do)

A shorter post today, since the last ones have been on the lengthy side. You might be familiar with the “yes, and” approach, which originated in improv comedy. The concept is that Person A makes a statement and Person B accepts it unconditionally and adds to it, thus building on the previous thought and extending the conversation. “Yes, and” has also gained momentum in the business world, particularly when it comes to building relationships and brainstorming new solutions. All too often, our initial reaction is to either say “yes, but” or, even worse, a flatout “no”, which stifles the conversation, and, when uttered too often, can negatively affect the entire relationship between individuals. This got me thinking about what other mindsets need to change. Here’s a big one:

“I/We shouldn’t have to…”

Think about it. How many times does this thought creep into your mind, especially as a manager? I shouldn’t have to tell him what to do. We shouldn’t have to constantly remind them what the appropriate dress code is. I shouldn’t have to spend my time helping them figure this out. We shouldn’t have to go back and forth explaining our terms. We shouldn’t have to answer the same question three times. You get the picture. What does this phrase do? It doesn’t prevent you from doing the things you feel that you “shouldn’t have” to do. All it does is spawn resentment, which inevitably creates a negative atmosphere, both in your head and in your work environment (and personal life, too!).

So what if you replaced the “shouldn’t have to” with “I will …, and I’ll also …”?

“I shouldn’t have to tell him to be a team player” can turn into “I’ll show him the importance of being a team player by pointing out how much his team members are contributing, and I’ll be encouraging him with praise whenever he steps up”.

“I shouldn’t have to ask them to make early morning calls” might become “I’ll keep explaining why early calls tend to be more successful and I’ll be there to greet them when they come into the office and continue to encourage them.”

“I shouldn’t have to jump in to help them” can be switched to “I’ll jump in and help them, and also make sure that we develop the skill sets needed in order for the team to be more self-sufficient”.

“I shouldn’t have to come into the office tomorrow” can be transformed into “I’ll be there and I’ll bring some breakfast treats.”

“We shouldn’t have to justify our pricing” could be replaced with “We will help our prospects make the case to their stakeholders by excelling at showing them the value of our product, and we’ll also be happy to meet with anyone else who may have questions.”

Very rarely will this paradigm shift be easy. But it can be a powerful way to create a better work environment for you and the people around you and, ultimately, result in greater success.

What about you? What are some examples you can think of that illustrate how changing “I shouldn’t have to” to “I will, and I’ll also …” can have a positive impact and possibly be a game changer?


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