One of the biggest lessons that I teach to business clients is the lesson of accepting and building, the shorthand for which is ‘yes, and.’ Most clients say that saying ‘yes, and’ is impossible in their business. My reply is, “then you will never know what is under the van…”
What’s Under the Van?
At least twice a year someone will run into the office at my small non-profit theater, very excited with a new idea. They say “we should get an old van, and paint it yellow and put our company logo on the side! Then we can drive it around to a baseball game and hand out stuff!”
Now, when this happens, I have a choice; I can say “No, that’s a stupid idea“ (BTW – not a good response to say no matter what lesson you are trying to impart…) or “well, that’s an expensive idea…” or I can ‘yes, and‘ their offer. When I can ‘yes, and’ their offer by saying “wow, that’s a great idea… what do you think that would accomplish?” I can start to get to the root issue;
“well, it would get more people seeing our logo..”
“Right! Good idea – do you feel that people don’t see it enough now?”
“well, I think we could have more brand recognition…”
“Cool! Let’s see, how else could we get that same brand recognition…”
By accepting and building, I can get to the root of the issue that the person is bringing up – that we need to increase our public facing marketing. Once we have the root of the issue, or what’s under the van, we can that start to address that.
The van is a symptom of the issue. And a lot of offers that people find are just that – symptoms. They may have identified an issue, and a possible solution, and the solution is a manifestation of that. Sometimes, they are not even aware of the issue that caused the solution – they just have the manifestation of that issue that came to them. Or maybe they know the issue, but haven’t quite articulated it yet.
So next time you have the urge to shoot down and idea – ask yourself; “If I don’t accept and build on this offer, how can I find out what’s under the van?”
And if you don’t know what’s under the van, you can’t address the real issues happening on the floor at your company.