Are You Part of the No Coalition?


What else do we need to know so we can say ‘yes’ was the question from the back of the room.  Heads turned and the most silent of the meeting’s participants had just thrown us all out of the proverbial express boat to the island of No.  It was a brillant question and it completely energized the staff and supporters of the proposal.  Seconds later sheets of paper were filled with ideas from an immediate brainstorming session.  Obstacles and objections were identified as well as strengths and new points of confluence with on-going initiatives.  With one question the meeting had come to life, ideas were being shared, engagement was soaring, and camaraderie was building.  It is easy to identify one way to say no.  The real talent is discovering strategies that let you say yes.

Seth Godin’s post illustrates the defused power of no with perfection.  I am glad to have seen the collation of no battled in the arena of institutional habits.


  1. Especially at a nonprofit or school. How can a board, Executive Director, Head of School ask for the best information so they can consider saying yes (they may not say yes but at least have made a decision with the best ideas in front of them). My goal is to leave a client with the right information so they can say yes to their best ideas.

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