This week we are talking about how to keep the flow going and how to build effective teams by using “yes, and” as a response to requests, suggestions and creative solutions. I was first exposed to the “yes, and” concept as a young improvisational theatre trainee at the famed Second City in Chicago. It is a core tenant for building at least a scene that someone would want to watch and also one the allows things to move forward. To really understand the power of “yes, and” just think about what it sounds like to hear “yeah, but” or worse, “no”. The two words, “yes, and” allow us to affirm what the other person is saying and to also add to the idea, to build on it and in most cases, allow it to morph into something completely not considered in the first place. But, how does this help with effective teams?
Well, pretty simply. There is nothing more disheartening than mustering the guts to speak your original idea or suggestion into a group of people only to immediately have it shot down in flames without consideration or even as much as a head-nod. It only takes doing this to one person in the group for all other creative suggestions to come to a screeching halt. The message sent is clear, speak up in the group with your idea and we will be sure to not listen. “Yes, and” at least begins to support the psychological safety needed with a group of people to be able to create and innovate together. And let’s be honest, organizations need regular levels of innovation to stay ahead of the curve and to continue to not only survive, but also thrive. The whole point in improvisation is to move the scene forward and so it is with our teams as well. Now, does this mean that every single idea that is spoken is acted on. No, of course not. But it does mean that at least it is explored.
Let us know what you think about “yes, and” and how it works for you and your team?