Can-Do vs. Can’t-Do Culture

The economist who helped Walt Disney's theme park dream become what it is today[1] said that the most important thing he learned through it all was the profound difference between a "no, because" person and a "yes, if" person.

If you ask many people an audacious "Can we do X?" their response is usually along the lines of "No, because [valid reasons]". They're not wrong, but the basic attitude is to shoot down what doesn't seem to fit with one's own view of the world. These are "no, because" people, and big companies are often full of them.

Much rarer and infinitely more valuable, especially for an entrepreneur, is the person who hears "Can we do X?" and responds, "Yes, if... [possible solutions]". Their response is one of problem-solving instead of confrontation, seeking to find a synthesis of the new perspective and their own. It seems like a small thing, but it is a very significant shift in mindset. Thinking like a "yes, if" person can unlock so much potential.


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Jamie Larson