Carpedia is a management consultant located in Oakville, Ontario. I worked for them for 4 years and it was the best job I ever had to date.
Working there was like getting an on the job MBA as I learned how to manage, analyse, and implement changes with people, processes, systems, and behaviors.
One of the things I really liked was receiving their Maxims by email every morning. These Maxims are high level business wisdom that employees are taught and live by to the best of their ability.
One of my favorite maxims that I have found to be true many, many times is this one:
If it's not yes, it's no
This maxim has to deal with communication and answering questions effectively.
When a closed ended question is asked, the response that is being looked for is often a "Yes" or a "No." But when a closed ended question is asked and somebody starts to speak and does not immediately respond to the actual closed question,the real answer is almost always, "No." People have a tendency to avoid answering "no" and instead answer with what is really an explanation of why they can't answer "yes."
Q: "Did we get the results yesterday?"
A: "We started well in the morning but then had a supplier issue that slowed up our processing".(Translation: "No.")
The problem with these responses is that they can be vague and can go on and on without ever addressing the actual question. The person asking is left to imply what the actual answer is, and it is almost invariably "no." It is helpful for communication to learn how to answer "no" to closed questions when appropriate. There is nothing wrong with providing explanations or rationalizations but only after you have actually answered the question. If you practice this you will also find you listen more accurately to what is being asked before rapidly firing out a response.
So, ask yourself, "Did our business reach its objectives today?"
To read all 52 Carpedia Maxims click here