Yes... and...

Saturday was our family’s 3rd annual Parents Can’t Say No Day. We started this tradition during Covid to celebrate the end of summer and the start of a new school year.

Boundaries are set to include a clear time frame, nothing illegal or unsafe and a limit on the amount of money that can be spent.

Our kids, ages 7 and 9, get to make the rules and the parents can’t say no. This year’s requests included two donuts for breakfast, video games, a trip to Target (where our youngest used some of her money to buy a mango), arcade games and laser tag.

Given the limited requests, I would say we got off easy this year!

We had a lot of fun together and the day felt good. It is joyful to say yes, and I think the kids would agree that is it empowering to hear yes.

As nonprofit professionals we can’t say yes to everything every day or we would be more overwhelmed than we already are. But I am curious, when facing a challenge is your instinct to say “yes …and” or is your instinct to say “no…but.”

When we say yes... and, we consider more possibilities and creative solutions. We make room for innovation and new ways to solve problems.

As a Positive Intelligence Coach, I look for ways to enhance feelings of creativity and innovation. One tool taught during the 7-week Positive Intelligence Course is the Power Game “Yes … And…”

You can play this game on your own, or with others. The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible without placing judgment on the validity of the idea. Instead, you focus on the 10% about the other person’s idea that you like and add to it.

To keep creativity flowing you use the language, “What I like about your idea is… and…” This way every idea is appreciated and validated.

Let’s say you are brainstorming ways to enhance a donor’s experience at your nonprofit theatre. Sally might say, “I think we should play soft music in the lobby as people are arriving,” and John might follow up by saying, “What I like about your idea is you are creating a calm environment for our guests and we could add aroma therapy to help relax people even more.” Then Sue might say, “What I like about your idea is that we are thinking about the full donor experience, and maybe we could do some staff training to connect with donors on a more personal level…”

This game could go on for many rounds, always using the same language, “What I like about your idea is… and…”

Having witnessed many rounds of this game in action, it can feel awkward in the beginning but after people get the hang of it, fun and sometimes crazy ideas flow. Of course, not every idea will be implemented, but by creating a culture where creative ideas are welcomed and encouraged, we are creating the environment for big problems to be solved.

To learn more about Positive Intelligence, register to join the free information session on Tuesday, September 5th at noon.

The next small group cohort starts on Monday September 18.

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