It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO, a senior manager, a middle manager or an entry-level employee — even a freelancer. In the end, all workers report to someone or some governing body. That’s how businesses work, and that management dynamic is a good thing.
This relationship organizes workers and drives focus and accountability. It enables companies to set and enforce benchmarks and goals. It drives efficient and effective deployment of worker capital and resources.
Yet one of the challenges of this classic dynamic is the tendency to say “yes” to management’s requests. Managers and professionals in power often don’t want to hear “no” — they want to hear that things can and will be done. And workers most often comply, and the pressure to do so is even higher during high-strung recessionary times as well as in extreme, competitive businesses. Moreover, saying yes is often the easiest thing to do — at least in the short term.
A yes culture can yield great results, and is a lot better than a no culture. Yet an expectation to say yes and execute on every demand, every task and every great idea has its limits. An unequivocal yes culture can lead to overcommitment, a lack of focus, or even burnout — all mitigating factors that can prohibit execution and overall success.
So, while a positive, yes-we-can culture is important, being deliberate is more important. And being deliberate means having the discipline to say yes when focus and actions are aligned with the goals and objectives that really matter, and no when they’re not.
Is your company deliberate? Are you deliberate?
This also was my latest column in MediaPost.