Better decisions for work and home

Here is something to ponder for New Year’s resolutions. When to say “yes” and when to say “no.”
In general, “yes” is considered “positive” and “no” is “negative.” But whether either is true really depends on the consequences. In fact, the outcomes can be very different in corporate and family life.
Most business leaders think they encourage their employees to contribute ideas toward improvements. But what happens when those people do that?
First, the supervisor may decide that the suggestion isn’t really different or good. It’s been tried before and didn’t work. But that only means someone else didn’t make it work.
Second, there may be any number of other reasons for saying “no.” They may be legitimate.
But one thing is sure–“no” gets the supervisor off the hook of having to do anything. “No” eliminates any need for research, finding resources, or giving guidance and direction into the unknown.
Here is an example. In an industrial enterprise, a big piece of equipment was being dismantled. It was surplus due to a modernization. A millwright realized that one large part could still be used as replacement on another machine.
“We should keep this under cover and tag it for replacement use,” he suggested.
If the supervisor said “yes,” he would have to find a covered location, get the serial number and marker so it could be entered in inventory, and borrow a forklift to move the part. And who knew whether and when the part might actually be used?
It was easier to say “no,” and he did. Three months later, the part which cost $120,000 new, was cut up and sold as scrap. Fourteen months later, a new part had to be bought.
In the corporate world, “yes” is often the harder choice. Family life is different.
Most adults believe it is important to build children’s self-esteem. Do you do that by often saying “no”? One might not think so. But hold on.
What happens when you say “yes” to a child’s wish, request, demand, or whine? You’re off the hook. Peace is restored. You may have to spend money or time differently than you’d prefer. But on the whole, you avoid hassles.
Which is exactly what “no” gets you. You may have said “no” just because it was inconvenient or costly. More often, though, you may feel you really should say “no” because it isn’t good or right.
Another coke and chips? A sleep-over with an unruly friend? Snowmobiling on the not-solid lake when “we’ll stay along shore?” Borrowing the car to go to a party?
You love and trust the kid. You can afford all these financially. It’s easy to say “yes,” hard to say “no.”
But if you really have your child’s best long-term interest at heart, if you want to develop self-confidence based on responsibility and competence, how often may “no” be the positive action to take?
Here is a recent example. A friend had her nieces visiting with her daughter. The girls had their evening planned. They would watch two movies they had rented. One of them was “Face/Off.”
My friend said “no” to that because it contains a lot of violence. At first, the oldest girl objected. She said it was her favourite movie. But my friend explained how even the sounds would affect the baby playing nearby, that one movie was enough at a time, and that other games could be fun, too.
“No” stayed “no,” whether or not the explanations were accepted. And in the end, the family had a great time watching one movie, having a wrestle with dad, and playing games.
On my friend’s part, it took conviction, the will to cope with objections, and readiness to move beyond her own comfort and convenience.
In that spirit, more “yes” at work and more “no” at home may be worthy resolutions to tend your best future.

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