Create a “Yes, And” Team Culture of Engagement and Performance

By Association Adviser staff • August 22, 2017

Galen Emanuele, Shift Yes
Galen Emanuele, Shift Yes

Never say no is one of the main rules of improv comedy. While you can’t never say no in your organization, you can still create a culture of yes.

Galen Emanuele with Shift Yes used the five main tenets of improv comedy to show attendees how they can build a culture where all ideas and people are respected in “Create a ‘Yes, And’ Team Culture of Engagement and Performance” at the 2017 ASAE Annual Meeting. They are:

1. Say yes.
2. Listen and be present.
3. Make others look good.
4. Embrace change and failure.
5. Be positive.

Emanuele had the audience try out different improv exercises that made for lots of laughs, but they also served as examples of how by listening and being more intentional in our conversations we create a culture that is open and engaged. That kind of culture makes people in your organization feel able to bring forward new, out-of-the-box ideas – even if they are ideas that won’t work.

It is possible to say yes to a person, but no to an idea, Emanuele said. In most cases, it’s not as important if you say yes or no, but how you say yes or no.


What have you learned about saying “yes” and building a culture of “yes”? Share your story below.