01/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Phrases to Resist (II)

Let's add another item to the list of phrases we all should resist. We have already discarded (I hope) It's (fill in a name)'s fault and Why the hell don't we have________!? The next phrase-to-resist is the "Yes...but."

Is there a single person reading this who has not experienced the following exchange? You are discussing a problem with your manager and you make a suggestion to improve things. The manager immediately responds with Yes...but. While implying that your idea might have merit with the "Yes," he or she is instantly rejecting your suggestion with the "but."

The "but" may be reasonable, might even be something that makes your idea absolutely unusable, but most often it is a knee-jerk, automatic rejection of anything new, especially something that he or she did not think of.

DIBEWIG dominates our thinking, actions and outcomes.
DIBEWIG = different is bad even when it's good!

Your idea is different, new and therefore by definition "bad." Worse, your idea might force the manager to change something he or she has been doing. Considering your idea might imply that the old way (and therefore the manager) was wrong and the "Yes...but" manager will automatically reject your idea. DIBEWIG is the past reaching forward to suppress the future. DIBEWIG is the opposite of Joseph Schumpeter's famous phrase - creative destruction - for how humans improve.

May I suggest?
Idea innovator: you need to show how your idea can make things better and (more importantly) can make the manager look good.
Manager: you need to be open to new ideas as they can help both the organization and your career. Consider it. Test it. If it works, use it.

As you know, I generally write about healthcare. Resisting the "Yes...but," is important in healthcare, is equally applicable to all other aspects of our lives. It is a mindset that we should recognize and reject.

RESIST the "Yes...but!"