One of the most useful pieces of parenting advice I got when my eldest was a toddler was from my good friend Art who suggested I try and make the answer “Yes, “ whenever possible. If he asked for ice-cream 15 minutes before dinner, rather than, “No, you’ll spoil your dinner, “ the answer instead was, “Yes! That sounds like the perfect dessert for after dinner. What flavor would you like?”
More than simply avoiding the meltdowns, this strategy helped my child feel heard and gave him a sense of ownership over how his day went. Simultaneously, it forced me to listen to my child’s request and evaluate what he was really asking. “Mommy, can we go to the park? “
“Yes, I want to spend time with you too, why don’t you help me with the chores so we can have fun together sooner than later?”
Of course, there were hard “no’s” such as “No, you can’t hit your sister with a wooden spoon over the head,” and “I understand you are upset, but No, you may not be disrespectful towards others.”
As we nurture and grow Verima, I find the same strategy to be useful. Especially with a start-up when the “no’s” sometimes seem to dominate the conversation.
“No, we can’t afford that.”
“No, we don’t have the resources for that.”
“No, we can’t meet that deadline.”
Rather I evaluate what is really being asked, then, I determine how we can make it happen.
“No, we can’t afford that” becomes, “Yes, if this is important, let’s see how we can budget for it in the next six months.” And “No, we don’t have the man-power for that.” becomes, “Yes, this job needs to get done so let’s re-prioritize our schedules and make it happen.”
At times, it is difficult to determine the hard no’s when it comes to Verima. But then, I just remind myself of the one consistent rule: If it compromises the health and safety of my family, teammates or consumers, it’s a hard no. For the things that help make our customer’s lives a little better, we find a path to say “yes, let’s go for it.”
Similar to life with kids, life at a start-up is all about exploring the possibilities. So, taking a page from my parenting handbook I try to first find the yes, and then determine the if, when’s and how’s to make it happen. Keep going and let’s find the a way to say “yes.”