When to Say Yes to “Yes”



We all say it. In fact, it’s the word of opportunity. When we say yes, we are bringing a new possibility into our lives, It’s how entrepreneurs, inventors, explorers, and artists stretch across their comfort zones and discover new things. Saying yes is how we succeed… right?

Well, yes and no.

Let’s think about it this way: of all those demands on your time (emails, texts, meeting requests, urgent drop-ins, and all your work responsibilities, etc.) are people … each named “Yes.”

As managers and leaders in your parks, you are responsible for the business’s success. So, there are plenty of Yeses you need to make room for:

  • the inspector who needs to do a walk-through;
  • the supervisor who needs your opinion on a damaged piece of equipment;
  • the employee who wants to talk about a difficult co-worker;
  • the guest standing cross-armed waiting for a refund;
  • the meeting request about the zip line upgrade.

That’s your job, and of course it’s busy and challenging. That’s why it’s called work. The problem comes when you have already filled your plate and the Yeses (or “requests”) keep coming. How do you figure out which Yes to say “yes” to? How do you take on a new Yes without pushing aside or neglecting a huge Yes like your family?

If you’re like most people, you’re not that selective. You end up bringing a lot of Yeses into your life while deferring your own needs … sometimes indefinitely.

The American Psychological Association warns that saying yes too much could make you a “people pleaser”—one of those incredibly dependable people who never says no and, as a result, is not properly taking care of themselves. The effects of overdoing yes are really significant: self-neglect, passive aggression, disengagement, stress/depression, and just plain being perceived as a doormat. This article is worth a look if you or someone on your team is piling their plate unreasonably high.

Since there is an endless parade of Yeses in the form of meeting requests, customer questions, reports, email, phone calls, and texts vying for your time, maybe it’s worth thinking of new strategy for how and when you say yes to Yes.

What if you treat each Yes like it’s interviewing for a spot in your life? It has to fight for your precious time like an eager applicant camping outside your office door. Here are a few questions you can ask Yes to see if it’s really a “No” in disguise.

You: “Tell me about yourself. Are you a V.I.P.? That is, are you related to family, my values, business revenue, job safety, or a key business objective?”

Yes: “Yes.”

You: “Come on in. Have a seat in my office. You’re hired.”

You: “Are you interesting in a way that would make me grow?”

Yes: “Definitely. But that doesn’t mean I won’t make you work for it.”

You: “I see what you did there. I like your spunk. You’re hired.”

You: “Are you open to feedback?”

Yes: “Absolutely. I’m pretty secure.”

You: “That’s great. I wouldn’t want to stifle my feelings when things get difficult and end up resenting you.”

You: “What’s your work style?”

Yes: “I’m pretty hard-charging. I work until the job is done, even if that means late at night or during your daughter’s ballet recital.”

You: “Well, that’s not fair to my current Yeses (like my family or career), so let me think about whether I’m even able to have you around. Have you ever thought about working at a start-up?”

You: “How would you describe your personality?”

Yes: “Well, I’m not sure. What do you think it should be?”

You: “Ugh. I’ll pay for your coffee, but you should really be going.”

What do you ask your “Yeses”? Comment below with your experiences with good and bad Yeses.


About Author

Paul Thallner is CEO and Founder of High Peaks Group, a U.S.-based consulting firm that helps leaders and organizations tackle the tough people challenges in order to accelerate business performance.

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