Yes, but…


I’ve been on the road with a lot of good on-site work in the past few weeks, and a pattern emerged in multiple organizations. A major issue for companies, a growth restraint, are employees I’ll label as “yes, but …” 

I’ve heard a lot of “yes, but …” recently.

  • Yes, but to get someone better we’d have to pay more.  
  • Yes, but we are moving them into another role (again, again) to see if it is a better fit.
  • Yes, but when they do show up.. engage…contribute… they are really good.
  • Yes, but I don’t have time to deal with them
  • Yes, but … !

When you say (or hear) “yes, but” with regard to an employee it is time to take an action. That action could be development, it could be letting them go. 

It’s better to have fewer that can do more, than more that can do less. “Not quite right” employees are a drag on your organization, taking time and energy away from those who are a good fit. I’m not saying you shouldn’t develop your employees – develop those who are good long term bets and can grow with the firm, or who are great cultural fits even if their jobs/skills might not change much over time. Use your limited resources wisely.

Don’t live with a “yes, but.” You want an organization filled with “yes, and.”

Karen Walker
— One Team Consulting


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