Editor's Notebook

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Editor's Notebook

The Power of Yes

Originally published
Originally published: 5/1/2023

As a leader, the example you set for your employees sets the tone for the entire company. Leaders tend to be very adept at saying “no” and moving on. Decisive and direct leadership is often the mark of a successful entrepreneur. But while it's important to say no, especially when saying yes can mean going over budgetary guidelines, being open to the yes possibility can lead to great opportunities and often, necessary change. While various business gurus opine the notion that saying “no” takes a certain amount of fortitude, it is also true that saying yes does not always mean you are a doormat. The ability to be open and listen often requires you to step out of your comfort zone which is just as courageous.  

There are many reasons why having a yes mindset can uplevel your business and by default, open up opportunities that you may not have seen. Here are a few of the best reasons to change your first reaction from no to YES.

Create an Open Forum for Ideas

As a leader, if you adopt a yes mindset, you are saying to your employees that their ideas matter. Creating an open forum for ideas, and listening with a yes mindset, leads to innovative ideas. That kind of listening can only enhance your business. If you are so accustomed to saying no to every employee, you will miss the brilliance that may be lurking just beyond your office.

Remember that your way is not the only way. Avoid saying no to something you could easily find a way to say yes to with a little effort or creativity. Practice taking yourself out of the equation for a moment and viewing things from an outside perspective, free of your own judgments or opinion. Ask “What’s possible here?” You’ll be surprised how many times you can find a simple ‘yes’ when you just look for it.

Encourage Individuality

Having a yes mindset doesn’t always mean you have to say yes to every idea, but creating a yes environment encourages individuality and sets up a culture where people want to contribute. And since you have hired each person for their strengths, being open to hearing new ideas encourages individuality which can only serve to strengthen the team. 

‘NO’ Closes the Door

As the head of the company, you set the tone. If your first reaction is to say no, your employees will sense that and stop taking the initiative. That culture only leads to stagnation, lack of productivity, and high turnover. And if you have gotten this far in the business world, it is because someone said yes. So, think about people as your assets. Would you say no to assets, to capital, to a potential inlet to more wealth? 

Most people would laugh at that notion. Don’t close the door before you hear the idea. 

What happens if you cannot say yes to the idea or strategy? Challenge yourself to ask to hear more before you snap to a dismissive reaction.

Changing your patterns may require a certain amount of confidence in your employees, but truly it requires trust in your ability to lead by inspiring rather than micromanaging. So, when you jump to say no, delay your rush to judgment and try asking instead, “Tell me more.”  Then listen with an open mind. Even if it isn’t right, it may inspire an option you hadn’t thought of.

As your company grows, remember that saying no will move you in the direction you have been going. It will accomplish all the things you need. But being open to the possibility of another way may move you in a direction you never thought possible. Give your company and your employees the chance to grow – the possibilities are endless.

Heather Langone is the Managing Editor of HVACR Magazine. For comments and feedback, email

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