Leadership and the Power of Yes

Andrea-WaltzAndrea Waltz is the guest this week on Leadership Development News.

The word “no” has the power to keep many leaders from realizing their goals and dreams. In fact, it’s often this alone that spells the difference between success and failure. But with the right mindset, anyone can turn “no” from an obstacle into their greatest asset.

Andrea Waltz is the co-owner of Courage Crafters, Inc. She’s also the co-author of “Go For No: Yes is a Destination – No is how you get there.” She shares this counterintuitive philosophy called, “Go For No” and how it can accelerate your business results.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I have to say that Andrea Waltz is somebody who has already touched my life. I have read the book, “Go For No: Yes is the Destination, No is how you get There,” and it’s a charming novel. It’s the story of an individual in the future text…have you ever looked at your life from the future? Have you ever said, here is where I want to be? Have you ever looked at your life as a successful life? This a great story and the word “no” has the power, as you said, to keep many leaders from realizing and actualizing their goals and their dreams. In fact, it is often this alone that spells the difference between success and failure for many individuals.

With the right mindset, anyone can turn “no” from an obstacle into their greatest asset. Andrea is a widely recognized expert on helping people reprogram the way they think about failure, rejection and transforming the word “no” from a negative into a very powerful positive.

Andrea shares her insights both as an author and as the producer of a 98 minute DVD which features interviews with renowned business and personal development professionals.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I just want to give out your website very quickly and we’ll do that a few times throughout the show, Andrea. It is GoFoNo.com.

Andrea Waltz: www.GoForNo.com, very simple.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Andrea, we always like to start off just getting a little bit about your background, at Leadership Development News; its always interesting as a window into your life. Who have been some of the people that have influenced you the most in regards to your life and your career path?

Andrea Waltz: You know the people that have influenced me the most are probably some of the more influential personal development experts of our time. The person, I guess, that comes to mind first, and it’s because when I was about 21 or so I read a book called, “The Aladdin Factor,” and it was by a man named Jack Canfield, who is also well known as the co-author of the Chicken Soup For the Soul Series. So Jack Canfield has definitely been a huge influence on me. That book was a huge influence on me.

Another great speaker; I think you guys have probably read a lot of his books too, is speaker and thinker and leadership expert, is Tom Peters. He has been very influential, especially some of his work around innovation and being okay with failure, because that is really one of the things that we talk about in our work.

Then some sales experts. I don’t know if either one of you are familiar with Zig Zigler. Zig, big huge influence. Some of the other personal development, gurus, Tony Robbins and people like that. Just a wide variety of people, but Jack Canfield was the one that popped into my mind first.

Dr.Cathy Greenberg: You know it’s funny, so many influential people these days that we think about, and one of the people I want to use as a great example in this “no” category is in fact, Jack. We know that when he was looking at ways to get his books out there, and to get his speaking out there; nobody was standing around saying, hey Jack, would you write a book called Chicken Soup for the Soul, right? He actually kind of stumbled into that after a lot of “no’s.”

Let me kind of kick off the conversation here about why “no.” It’s known to be such a very difficult word in business. How does this topic serve you and your sense of purpose and why did you come to this place called “no?”

Andrea Waltz: Right, well it’s a great question. Really, the whole idea around Go For No is that we teach people to intentionally hear “no” more often; do what we call intentionally increase their failure rate to go out and hear “no” more often. What I loved when you were talking about the idea that a leader is the emotional thermostat and kind of sets that emotional tone, what’s interesting, for most people is that “no” is so horrible and is avoided and so from a leadership perspective I think it’s very important to make “no” if you are in a sales environment, or the just the idea of rejection or failure or things not working out, okay for people. Not only okay for people, but from an innovation standpoint, something that everyone seeks out. That people understand that in order to be more successful that there have got to be some failure involved. It’s got to be okay to try things. From a sales standpoint, if you are in a sales environment, to hear “no” more often because ultimately when you hear “no” more often, it puts you in a position to hear more yeses.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I believe you said that you intentionally increase the failure rate; what people hear as “no.” What’s that all about? What does Go For No really mean?

Andrea Waltz: Most people live in what we call a “go for yes” world. What I mean by that is that we have all grown up being taught that we need to hear yes. We didn’t want to fail, failure is bad and we wanted to hear yes. What happened is that we live in this “go for yes” world where yes is good and hearing no is bad. If you hear no you failed. Of course failure is bad and nobody wants to look like a failure.

As a result, what happens is that causes a lot of pressure and stress and this whole idea that we have to be perfect, and oh my gosh, I don’t want to hear no. Ironically, all of that is completely opposite of the strategy that we teach. What we say is, you actually should live in a “Go For No” world. Which means, “Go For No.” Try to hear more no’s, take a risk, take a chance; that is where the success lies. That is where the opportunities are. Yes, you will hear more “no’s” but ultimately you will put yourself in a position to get far more yeses and to experience far more success and that failure along the path is to be expected and it is to be okay.

Fundamentally, we are trying to reconfigure how people think about no. Instead of avoiding it, do what we call, Go For No. Take those chances. That is ultimately going to allow people to live more fulfilling lives, increase their sales, whatever you are trying to do. Whatever road block is in your way or thing you are trying to accomplish, you’ve got to hear no more in order to get those yeses.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Well, I think just hearing you say that, it’s a very encouraging message and some of the fear that we’ll talk about in a little bit, discourages people. So tell me a little bit about how you came across this and maybe what were some of the lessons in your own “no” journey that you came across. I’m sure, like for Cathy and myself, we end up writing, learning about things that we want to get better at and then sharing that with others.

Andrea Waltz: Yes. It’s kind of interesting. The whole Go For No concept came from a very basic experience that my co-author, Richard Fenton; he’s actually my husband and business partner, had. We work together and everything. He had an experience where he learned this whole idea of Go For No and this actually happened in a clothing store setting.

A gentleman came in and he sold him several pieces of clothing and at the end of the transaction, his mentor, his boss if you will, came over to him and said, “Do you mind if I ask you a question?” Richard, said, “No, go right ahead.” This man’s name was Harold, and Harold asked Richard, “Out of curiosity, what did that customer say “no” to?” Richard thought it was kind of strange question because he had actually sold this man quite a bit of clothing. He said, “Well, gosh, Harold, he bought all of this stuff, ultimately he didn’t say no to anything.” Then Harold turned around and said, “Well then Richard, how did you know he was done?” That was the question that kind of turned things around for Rich. It always takes a good leader to see those opportunities and to point them out in a positive way. Richard said, “You know, he didn’t say no to anything and how I knew he was done was that I stopped for the sale.”

This was a story that Rich would tell in our workshops. We started off doing sales training and customer service workshops for retail organizations and they all loved it. It made so much sense to them. So when we wrote “Go For No,” that’s kind of the central story that we use. It happens to the main character and our main character learns in that moment that he is avoiding no and by avoiding no he is limiting his opportunities for more sales. Really, I think both of you could agree, this really applies to anything in life. When you are afraid of hearing no, when you are afraid of that rejection, when you are afraid of being turned down, what we do is we stop trying and we avoid all of those missed opportunities. Then we sit around and wonder where are all my opportunities? Well, you are avoiding them because you don’t want to take the chance of being rejected.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Let me ask a couple of questions from a business standpoint. Certainly it make a lot of sense and I resonate with this. In fact, I may have shared with you in an email as we were preparing for today’s show that my daughter, who is in the design business, had a seminar that sounded to me like it was based on your material, if not by your company. She is taught in the design showroom that the faster you get to “no” the better your opportunities are with the people who are really ready for yes.

So how does your concept help business owners in the general business world as I just kind of explained, and what are some of the techniques or strategies people can use to put your ideas into action as soon as the show is over?

Andrea Waltz: Right, absolutely. Well, one of the main things that helps business owners is this whole idea of starting to operate your business in a place instead of fearing no, being willing to hear a no and actually wanting to hear no.

For most business owners, it doesn’t matter who you are, because we operate from those places of fear and apprehension and being turned down, we are saying, okay, no, do the opposite. So for most business owners, there are clients or customers that they want to call on, that they don’t because they think; this is what happens. We come up with a story as to why this person is going to say no. Oh, I’m not going to call on them because I’m a small fry. They are not going to want to hire me for my product or my service. Or we come up with some other reason; I’m too small, I’m to big, I don’t have this I don’t have that. All the reasons, right? All the stories that we come up with as to why we are not going to get hired.

So for a business owner, this Go For No concept says, well no, that has to go out the window because your job now is to hear “no” more. One of the strategies we teach is something called “’No’ Goals.” We actually teach people to set a goal for the number of “no’s” they are going to hear. So for an average business owner listening to this; set a goal and try to hear a couple of “no’s” this week. Maybe two are three. What is interesting is because we have all been taught to live in a different kind of world, we don’t hear no very much because we are protecting ourselves.

The #1 strategy is really think about how many “no’s” you are hearing? You are probably not hearing that many and then try to hear two or three. That client that maybe you have been hesitant to call on or whatever it happens to be. Pick up the phone, call that person, and ask that question and let the result be what it may. I liked how you guys said, you know, we are all very much only in control of our own behavior, our own thoughts, and that is so true.

Because of that, this result of yes or no, the answer to the question, is also out of our control. But what is in our control is we can reach out and we can ask and at least put ourselves out there and try.

That is really the main strategy for business owners is to get out there; to not do this thing where we come up with these stories and we prejudge as to what is going to happen.

Listen to the complete interview with Andrea Waltz without commercials, above. Find out how to “Go For No” to increase your business.



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