Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Eradicate "Yes, but..." and bring on "what if?"

Last week we had a mini EdCamp during a two hour early out. It was awesome! I saw teachers who are great teachers, but don't usually get excited about things, get fired up! It was great to see the passion come out of our teachers.

The interesting part.

We had a conversation about what the ideal school looks like. In the first seven minutes this happened three times:

Person A: (Insert really-great-no-box-thinking-idea here)

Person B: That's great, but you can't do that because (insert schedule, sports, staffing, etc here)

Someone remind me to write a blog on the 3 S's sometime.

Do you think there is a mentality in education that listens to a new idea through a filter of "yes, but?" Are we planning why this idea won't work as the person is talking?

What if....see I already started using what if...What if we could eradicate "yes, but" and only accept "what if?" What if we started finding reasons why the idea would work rather than stacking up reasons why they can't. What could you accomplish if you had a whole school whose mentality centered around what if?

Lots of questions here, but the next time you hear an idea and reach for "Yes, but" stop and pull out "What if" instead.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged,



  1. Dane, here's a similar post of mine on this topic:

    It's VERY hard for people who are operating within nonflexible systems to reimagine how those systems might be more flexible. It can be done, but it's extremely difficult and requires some strong (challenging) facilitation... Good luck!

    1. I think this speaks to the impasse between fixed mindset thinker and growth mindset thinkers. Something that I'm finding is that fixed mindset thinkers cannot/are not able to wrap their brains around the things that growth mindset thinkers can see clearly when processing a change or new idea. It frustrates the GMS thinkers and digs in the heels of FMS thinkers in the resistance to change. What is the next step here? How do we span this gap in thinking?

    2. One place to start is to help FMS thinkers see that/how other places are doing things differently. It's harder to say 'that can't be done' when you see others are actually doing it! Once cognitive dissonance is achieved and possibilities are now recognized, then it's just a matter of design and will...