I’m not good with ‘No’.
I’m the girl whose broken arm was fixed into a full length bent plaster cast at age 7 and who still insisted on playing handstands in the school playground.
I’m the lady who, after the rather tricky delivery of a (weighty) baby girl, requiring ‘ear ‘ole to breakfast time’ stitches, still found a way to have a son 15 months later!
In fact, I’ve come to believe that the quickest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t. I have also come to think that this mindset is a vital skill for a School Business Leader.
When I first started as an SBL I was sagely advised, “Don’t let it always be you saying no”. But, actually, I rarely say ‘No’. I will often say, “we’ll need to look at including that in the budget next year” or “we’ll need to risk assess that quite carefully” or “might that be something we can do during a school holiday?” or even, “come back to me with more detail on how we can achieve this and what the outcomes will be.” But I seldom deliver an outright “no chance”.
I believe the SBL in a school is there to help find solutions, to support innovation, to find those funding streams and to try to look at every idea with an open mind. Of course, we can’t do everything, but having a positive and supportive attitude usually allows the exploration of an idea that can often lead to an even more suitable and achievable proposal.
I also believe that a can-do attitude is contagious.
I want to be the kind of leader in a school who demonstrates an enabling posture. Someone who colleagues want to bounce ideas off, who they trust to listen and maybe facilitate the preparation of an investigative action plan. I’m not Wonder Woman and I know that I don’t have unlimited energy so I need to share this mindset with others. That way if I don’t have capacity, I know someone else in my team will step up and have a similar attitude to the request or idea.
It can result in a very positive pyramid.
So the next time you are reaching for the stars, take a colleague along for the ride and show them what a wonderful feeling it is to say ‘Yes’.