Recent research by Egon Zehnder and McKinsey and Co. showed that the ability to come up with insights was the most important trait for executives in top-performing companies. Where do you record your insights or learnings about your business? How often do you record these insights?

In my work helping managers develop their strategic thinking skills, a great deal of focus is put on practical tools and techniques for generating new insights on a continual basis. They often experience great success with a new lens for developing ideas that help their business move forward. The challenge then becomes getting their colleagues to be open to listening to these new ideas. They tend to run into “But” Disease.

You may recall coming in contact with one of these but’s at a recent meeting. These people begin their replies to any new or different ideas with the phrase, “Yes, but”, “Yes, but we tried that before”, “Yes, but we don’t have the budget”. Pretty soon these buts have taken over your meeting and everyone knows how hard it is to get rid of a big but. Begin the process of listening to new ideas by replacing “Yes, but” with “Yes, and”. It forces people to build on each other’s ideas, not tear them down.

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