Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yes, but...

If you are the leader of the Technical Arts team, no matter if you are paid, full time or volunteer – or somewhere in between,  you will undoubtedly be inundated with requests of the possible and not so possible.  If you stop and think about it, pretty much any request is possible given time and money.  And honestly, you are probably in your role because some folks thought you were pretty smart and good at delivering their request at some point.
So why in the world would we ever say no to the mound of requests you receive from your leadership and staff? I think, at least for me and my experience, that ‘no’ comes from that fact that your current responsibilities and the few other requests already submitted has you spending way to much time at the church.  And if that is the case then I am pretty certain you are at a point that your head my pop off if someone asks for one more thing from you.  You may be in an environment where ‘no’ is not an acceptable word to be said from someone in your position.  Saying ‘no’ because you don’t want to do it or because you’re overloaded can leave a negative perception against you.  Not being able to say no or feeling like you can say no leaves you in a very spiritually and unhealthy place.
That is why you should NEVER say ‘No’.  Whoa, whoa, who….don’t stop reading or click off the blog.  Hear me out till the end.  Let me say it again.  You should never say ‘no’ to you leadership or staff.  I think you should always tell them Yes, but.  Yes, but…what will it cost – cost in financial terms, time and human resource.  Once you do your research on what those terms are if we do honor a submitted request and present the facts then that will offer your leadership the opportunity to make an educated decision on what is really important. 
If their request is going to require hardware or software to accomplish the task present a couple of options and maybe include purchase and rental prices.  Define the time it will take to complete the request.  In their mind that video may take thirty minutes to produce.  In reality they are not taking into account the time it takes to setup, capture, teardown, import, edit, tweak, sweeten, export, and deliver that video.  Along with how long it takes, let them know what other responsibilities or projects you have that will be affect or pushed off to make this happen.  Finally, discuss the human resource it will spend.  If this is something bigger than you can handle then who do you need to assist?  Will it be other staff, volunteers or even hire a freelancer?
Saying ‘Yes, but’ instead of ‘no’ allows you the opportunity to let your leadership decided the priorities of that request.  It also allows you the opportunity to help educate your leadership in really what your world looks like and what it entails.  I think this may be just as important as their request is- no matter what their request is. 

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Anonymous Anthony Coppedge said...

Love. All. Of. It.

The only time I think it's OK to say "No" and flat-out deny a request is ONLY if:

* It's illegal (copyrights, anyone?)
* Unethical
* Immoral

"Yes, but" also keeps the requestor from finding a way around you when you say "no" too often.

Great stuff, Bill!

March 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Bill Swaringim said...

agreed, Anthony. I was assuming that the illegal, unethical and immoral was a given - but I since we are talking about the Church then I guess I shouldnt....especially copyrights. Hey, there is your next blog post!

March 23, 2011 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Eric Wolfe said...

Great encouragement, Bill. It's something my friend Todd taught me way back when. It's such a no-brainer when we take the time to think about it. However, without regularly remembering philosophy like this, we get lazy and fall into our old ways...

Here's a quote from my friend Jack, "Nothing illegal, nothing immoral; the stupid I will do with a smile."

And I would add that it's my responsibility to manage the health of my schedule. That takes relationship with my boss(es)... 3. my work superior 2. my wife 1. Jesus

March 24, 2011 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Bill Swaringim said...

Eric, it is absolutely responsibility of each of us to manage the health of our schedules and set healthy boundaries. By the way, this reminds me of an older blog post I have here http://www.billswaringim.com/2011/03/boundaries.html

Good stuff – thanks for joining the conversation.

March 25, 2011 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Todd Elliott said...

Good stuff Bill. Saying "yes, but" puts you in the category of team player as opposed to the one who is always shooting down ideas. By saying "Yes, but" is such a solution oriented way to respond, where "no" is negative and isn't really helpful.

Thanks for the reminder.

March 25, 2011 at 1:16 PM  

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