The ‘Yes, And’ is Out There 👽

a man about to be abducted by a flying saucer

Image credit: fergregory

Can you remember the first time you watched an episode of a TV show you immediately fell in love with?

For me, it was in the summer of 1995 and I was hanging with some friends. The TV was on, playing a rerun of a show I had heard about but never seen: The X-Files.

The episode was titled, “The Calusari” and at one point a friend turns to me and says, “This is a horrible Exorcist ripoff.”

I rankled at this. Not at the “ripoff” part; that was true. Possessed child? Check. Ritual to remove the demon from the kid? Check. Scene with the possessed child floating above the bed? Check!

No, I took issue with the “horrible” part. Not to me! I loved it. The X-Files became “must watch” TV for me. It is still to this day my favorite Sci-Fi TV show of all time (sorry Trekkies).

In case you’ve never seen it, here is how ChatGPT sums it up: "The X-Files is a science fiction television series that follows FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as they investigate unsolved and unusual cases, often involving paranormal phenomena, government conspiracies, and extraterrestrial encounters."

It was smart, scary, funny at times, and engrossing.

But what was annoying, almost comically so in later seasons, was how Scully, the “rational, science-based” partner, would always discount the possibility that something supernatural was at play. They would hear about a case and Mulder would say, “it’s aliens!” or, “it’s a chupacabra!” or, “it’s an army of cockroaches!” and Scully would immediately say, “Mulder, what you are saying is impossible and there is probably a logical explanation.”

Yes, even after years of working on X-Files, seeing all she had seen, and even being abducted by aliens, Scully still defaulted to “yes, but.”

Are you a Scully? 

On the show, Scully had a predisposition toward seeing things a certain way. No matter how much evidence she witnessed to the contrary, she kept defaulting to “yes, but,” and remained unwilling to change.

You may never investigate aliens or the supernatural (though if you do, let me know! That sounds fascinating), but you may have strong opinions. A way you have always done things. The way you believe things really should be.

And even when faced with repeated examples of how your way may not be the only way, you might still, like Scully, keep saying “yes, but” in the face of evidence.

What’s the source of your "yes, but?"

  • It could be a big change you are going through, like a technological shift that others in your industry are embracing but you prefer the tried-and-true ways. You don’t need “new-fangled tech” to do the work.
  • If you are a leader, maybe it’s employees who keep asking you to try a new approach and you keep resisting because you know your way is better.
  • Or perhaps there’s an approach to achieving your goal that you think should work for you but never has, causing endless frustration no matter how often you try.

Whatever it is, think about how you can shift to “yes, and.” Consider and explore the new ideas and see where they take you. This approach is at the heart of making change less painful.

Imagine how many more X-Files Mulder and Scully could have solved with “yes, and.” 🤯

Yes, this is one of the things I specialize in. If the employees in your organization are resisting change and you could use some help getting them to embrace it, or if your leaders could use ideas on how to guide their people through the change, contact me and let me know!


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