23 March 2009

The Power of "No"

Why do certain people reflexively say "no?"

"No" is a powerful word. It can stop an idea in its tracks, or take all the wind out of someone's sails.

It is also a much easier word to say than "yes."

Some people are gatekeepers. They have to say "no," and it can be hard. For such as these-- others rely on their ability to mean what they say. They protect people.

But too many people fancy themselves as gatekeepers when they are not. The Army has an overabundance of this type of naysayer. He feels he is doing a great service when he shuts someone down. He also ends his involvement in the process. If he says "yes," maybe", or "let's see how we can get it done," he invites more work. The man who says no too often is a lazy man.

Yet, shouldn't we be in the business of proactively solving problems? In such a world, shouldn't we facilitate instead of guard the gates? It takes more courage, creativity, and work to say "yes."

If the Army wants to be more successful in the future, it needs to teach people the power of "yes."

And soon.

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