One of the exercises on my Creative Leadership workshop runs like this.
People in pairs have short conversations. In the first conversation one person makes a suggestion for something new that could be done for customers (say). The second person replies with an objection. They start their sentence, 'Yes but ...' The first person then rebuts the objection with another sentence starting, 'Yes but ...' They carry on, ensuring that every sentence starts with the words, 'Yes but ...'
After a couple of minutes they stop and then begin a second conversation. One person starts with a suggestion for something new that could be done for employees (say). The second person adds to the idea with a sentence beginning, 'Yes and ...' The first person responds with a sentence starting, 'Yes and ...' and so it goes on.
The results are instructive. Typically the first conversation spirals down into an argument with no agreement. The second conversation goes to all sorts of creative and unusual places. It is fun and leads to interesting ideas.
I then ask the delegates which conversation type is more common in their organization. It is always the 'Yes but ...'.
Credit: Paul Sloane
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