Start with yes

One of the exciting things about building a business is bringing together a group of people to make something from nothing.

Whenever you have a group of people in the same room, people often have different opinions and ideas. Sometimes you can have bold, potentially very hard-to-build ideas. Other times you might have simple, yet meaningful ideas for incremental improvements.

Sometimes, though, you find yourself with no ideas of your own. When you're in this position it can be very easy to find flaws in any suggestions that have already been made.

"That's great but..."

"That'll never work because..."

"How do you intend to do that when..."

While it's important to be realistic about ideas and plans, often the realism can come in too early in the lifecycle of an idea.

If you find people saying "no" to an idea too early, it can be enough to hold back a potentially great idea from ever being worked on and considered. In the long run, that's a big problem for a creative team – ideas are fragile and need to be nurtured.

At GoSquared, something we try to hold as a value whenever entering any sort of early stage creative discussions is this: start with yes.

I don't mean say yes to everything throughout the process of building a product. Crikey, if there's ever a way to build an awful product it's to say yes to everything people ask for.

Instead, what I'm saying is don't shut down potential avenues and ideas too early. Don't narrow yourself down too soon. The best solutions come from considering a plethora of options and picking the best and then refining and refining.

Next time you're in a creative meeting with your team and you find yourself wanting to criticise an idea or say "no", hold back. Hold back and think "if we said yes to this, what would we need to do?"

Start with yes. There's plenty of time for a "no" later.

James Gill

CEO and co-founder of GoSquared.

London, UK