Starting with Yes

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A French bulldog, named 'Hitch' with a baseball in his mouth

I say ‘no’ all the time.

Well, not all the time, but definitely too often. It’s a problem but it’s part of my job.

A lot of my job, which remains difficult to explain, is to work out whether or not a solution to a problem will work.

Solutions are not binary. They exist with nuances and, similarly, do not succeed or fail outright.

So why do I say "no" when a solution is presented to me and I can automatically see a problem?

When I respond with an instant negative it does a few things. One of them is to obviously display that I recognise an issue with the proposal. But another, and probably the more important, is that it offends the proposer.

By offending the proposed of the solution I’m reducing my chances of having her come to me with a future solution. I might also be making her question her own judgement in these matters. I might also just come out of the whole situation looking like a know-it-all arsehole.

I fear I have come across as a know-it-all arsehole too often in the past.

My intention with saying "no" is just to make people aware that there are more problems with this solution and that it’s not good enough to move onto whatever the next stage is.

But what if I say "yes"? Can I be encouraging while also expressing the issues I have with the idea? Of course I can.

And yet I don’t. I want to. It’s a tough habit to break.

I want to start with "yes" and see where it gets me. It might take a bit longer, but maybe the solution we reach together, through a series of positive statements, is stronger than the one attacked with negativity to test its resilience.