When we ReVision a client, we start the day with a few simple rules that begin with “Leave your ‘buts’ at the door”. You know the “but” people. They follow every new idea with a “but”. “But we tried that.” “But we can’t afford that.” “But we’ve never done that before!”
“I love you, but I never want to see you again.” But is a powerful, dangerous word. It negates everything in front of it. It turns can into can’t, do into don’t, will into won’t, and yes into no. It even turns love into apathy.
(By the way, there’s a great little book on the subject by Chic Thompson. “Yes, but …”)
Likewise, we kill killer phrases like “That’s not practical”, “That’s impossible”, and “That’s absurd”. For a company to innovate, it has to “go where no one has gone before”, it must consider options that no one else would consider. Einstein said it best:
“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
I was blessed as a child. My mother told me repeatedly, “Can’t never could do nothing.” The word “can’t” was erased from my vocabulary and, more importantly, my psyche. So, we start every ReVision with a “Yes, we can” attitude that allows ideas to be considered, to multiply, and to flourish. The results are always interesting, often amazing.
A client’s management team had been actively working (fighting) for over a year to overcome an impasse and each meeting ended without resolution. Asking “How might we … ?” opened the floor for ideas, solutions, and consensus. Within one hour, the problem was solved.
So, next time you go into a committee meeting, ask everyone to leave their buts at the door and to consider options that would not normally be considered. Ask “How might we … ?” and you will be amazed at the possibilities that appear.