How to give way to potential and overcome the obstacle of saying no

Yesterday’s lunch and learn with a global media company brought to light, again, that it’s hard to get  people to say yes to new ideas.  Especially in times as confusing these.

Look out! Potential!!

Look out! Potential!! (Photo credit: M0les)


What’s up with people saying no?  “Simple”, said  one of the leaders of the organization at the session, “people say no to new ideas because….(wait for it)….they are new ideas!” It was a true revelation.  “People are comfortable with what they already know.  Anything that’s proposed that’s different receives an automatic no.”

No is a knee jerk reaction to new ideas. It doesn’t have to be.

What if there was another way to respond to ideas that shows there’s potential to consider?  There is.  In my 2001 book, Creativity and Personality Type: Tools for understanding and inspiring the many voices of creativity, I wrote about the Angel’s Advocate – the counter balance to the Devil’s Advocate, a role many enjoy playing.  Simple to use, it delays  the ‘no’ response so people can consider aspects of a new idea first.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the people you worked with could use an Angel’s Advocate approach?  What if you took the lead and started it yourself, creating a do-ocracy of potential?  Here are the states (they’ve been refined over the years)

Introducing the Angel’s Advocate

After hearing a new idea ask and give a minimum 3 answers to each question:

  1. What’s good about it?
  2. What’s good about it for the future?
  3. What are the cautions, objections, obstacles, concerns?
  4. How might the idea be strengthened?  How might some of the cautions be mitigated, etc?

Try it on for size in a safe environment first, maybe with family.  Share your findings. Perhaps you’ll experience how using this approach opens up potentials and stretches thinking.

Signs of confusing times: Are you confused about what to eat? Do you know what’s in or on your food? Have you see the list of 10 foods to avoid like the plague because they cause inflammation?  So sad that with the holiday season upon us; the number one disease causing food listed is sugar. Years ago I would ask people as a creativity exercise to imagine the world without sugar. It was difficult for many to do so. Another eye opener about the effects of sugar was broadcast on CBC in October The Secrets of Sugar.  It’s a drug.  See also Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter’s expose on sugar as a cause for: dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression and much more.

What other examples of these confusing times are in your awareness?



Please let me know if you have any questions…

Marci Segal, MS

Freeing leaders’ thinking so they can create new futures.



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