Are you a YES man (or woman)


June 3, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

In the productivity-sphere there is a common mantra that hums like this:

“saying no is the first step to saying yes”, OR “you can only say yes if you are willing to say no”, OR “say no and increase productivity”, and so on.

I don’t want to come on too strong and say that this is 100% wrong, so I will say this: Being a NO person is 99% wrong allowing for a 1% margin of error!

In leading a Creative Team that is expected to also be highly productive I found that I was developing a “no” mentality as a default answer. In my mind it was about priorities, it was about time, it was about setting boundaries. Here is what I have found:

Saying no:

  1. Strips you of influence.

Most of the time the project still happens. It just happens without your influence. So the very thing you said no to…happens poorly without you. If the only agenda is your productivity than this may be a win – but in most circumstances the agenda is effectiveness and because you said no the project happens ineffectively.

In our case we were saying “no” to a ton of internal design requests. The design was still happening – just without our influence and adversely effecting brand. How does this make sense? Our boundaries had fenced us out of having influence in the very playing field that we were created to play in.

  • Creates lack of trust from teammates.If we are always saying no, people will start to not even ask, they will just get it done without you and start to see you as another team or even worse a island unto and worried about yourself. I find that a lot of the productivity blogs and tips are written by solo’s and freelancers who do not have to co-exist with a team or teams. In the life of the average person being a part of the team is part of life. The question is are we playing organized team ball or street ball that only looks out for our own productivity and not the productivity of the team. “I scored 45 points but my team lost” is a very productive solo basketball outing but sucks for the team.


I do understand the conventional productivity thinking and believe that there are several layers of “Yes”, but I am convinced that the principle should be – “The answer is always yes”. Try these out.

5 Ways to Say yes and NEVER say NO:

    • Yes. I can do this in your time frame and in your budget.


  • Yes. I can do this in your budget but I am going to have to change the time frame.



  • Yes. I can do this, but not in your time frame or your budget. Let’s negotiate.



  • Yes. I can do this, but I do not think it is the best way. May I make suggestions?



  • Yes, I can have someone else do this for you.


What saying YES does.

    • Gives you influence. If you do not want influence – you are not a leader.


  • Gives your teammates faith in you. A yes man or women is seen as a faithful and loyal member of the team. Thats productive.



  • Give you the emotional deposits to be able to lead for change and more productivity in the end.


If I want an easy life – Say NO. If I want influence – Say Yes.

I am a Yes Man and proud of it!

Shawn Wood writes about productivity, life hacks, marketing, books and spiritual stuff at ShawnsBlogSpot. Shawn is in charge of experiences for Seacoast Church, a multi-site church with 11 campuses (25 weekend experiences) in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and on the web with an internet campus. To get all that done Shawn has to be a productivity junkie!


Getting Started with Forex

Other Dating Guide

Individual Reviews