NO! It’s one of the first words we learn as children. And for most of us, it’s a word we regularly use as we grow older. In professional settings, “No” has the power to shut down strategic conversations with unfortunate effectiveness. Whether responding to a new idea that challenges the status quo or a suggestion that seems like a lot of work, “No” is the answer that will require the least amount of effort. At least in the short term.
What if, instead of responding with a quick “No,” we paused and said “Yes”—or more specifically, “Yes, if…”? This simple approach worked wonders for Walt Disney. The world-famous Disney empire was founded on Walt’s upbeat ability to sidestep the easy “No” and replace it with a more hopeful “Yes, if…” Even in the most challenging situations, Mr. Disney kept his focus on positive outcomes. When asked if Disneyland could be built, everyone else said, “No, because…” But Walt? He answered, “Yes, if…”
- Yes, if we get someone else to pay for it.
- Yes, if we hire the world’s best experts to build it.
- Yes, if we choose a location that’s warm all year long.
- Yes, if we get transport links.
We already know the “Yes, if…” approach worked for Disney’s dream, but could this technique also work for your credit union? Could you create a more positive future for your credit union by—well, I’ll let you finish that sentence. It could be investing in technology. It could be rebranding the credit union to make it more relevant to your ideal member. It could merely be investing the time required to conduct an in-depth strategic planning session that challenges you to consider all of the “what-ifs.”
What I’m describing may seem like a simple technique, but success doesn’t always have to be complicated. What worked for Walt Disney could work for you. You have the power to change the future of your credit union for the better by simply replacing “No” with “Yes, if…” But beware. Tossing “No” out the window and replacing it with “Yes, if…” will often lead to tough conversations and hard work. But don’t let that scare you off. Remember, winners do the work most others aren’t willing to do.