• Adam Walter

Acceptance vs. Agreement

Listen: Humanize IT Podcast Blog Ep 121

Believe it or not, one small word has the power to transform your conversations inside and outside of the office. By replacing the phrase “Yes, but...” with “Yes, and...” you can build strong relationships by making your colleagues feel validated, accepted and heard. All it takes is implementing a three-step formula that’s easy to work into any conversation naturally.

In this week’s episode of Humanize IT, Gina Trimarco is back for Part Two of Improvised Intelligence with Adam Walter and Skip Ziegler. Let’s take a look at how to stay humble in order to find collaborative solutions by making others look their best.

It all starts with checking your ego. Adam admitted that right out of college, he was a little cocky and blamed problems on user error. It wasn’t until 5 or 6 years into his career that he started realizing that fixing technology was more about supporting the business than turning screws.

He started asking himself, “How can I make others look their best?” The solution was finding a balance between acceptance and agreement by changing the phrase “Yes, but...” to “Yes, and...” when someone presented him with a new idea.

The word “yes,” in itself, is a positive green light. However, the second you add in the “but,” it negates the yes, no matter how positively you intended it to sound. The same rules apply to “Sorry, but…”. You’re either apologizing, or you’re not — and people can see right through that.

Even if your excuse is valid, that doesn’t empower the other person, but instead makes them uncomfortable and hesitant. The key to genuine relationships is accepting the other person’s opinion and making them feel valued.

That said, this doesn’t mean you can’t still be assertive and stand firm in your opinions. There are plenty of ways you can get your beliefs across by replacing the word “but” with “and” while still communicating your own point of view. This balance is achieved when you see where people are coming from and meet them where they are.

Through a three-step process: 1) Communication, 2) Validation, and 3) Collaboration, you can retrain your brain to converse with a more positive purpose. The best part is, it won’t feel robotic or scripted, as you can easily and naturally implement this trick into any conversation.

You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear the “how” and “why” behind this three-step practice, so we won’t give too much away. But this mindset, and the shift from “but” to “and” can change everything in your business mindset from here on out.

In sum, people are wired to fear rejection. We need a sense of belonging, and we shut down when we feel we’re being judged for our opinions or ideas. When we work together to create a long string of “ands”, the result is a perfect combination of multiple mindsets, which is far more innovative than anything we could dream up on our own.

In this week’s fail, Gina explains how she put off virtual improv classes for years, but when the pandemic hit, she had no choice but to pivot to a more technological approach. Her only regret was not doing it sooner!

Tune in next week for the 3rd installment of this series on how to use failure to become more relatable.

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