I saw an interview with John Lennon (hero) and Yoko Ono once about how they met and eventually fell in love. John attended one of Yoko’s art exhibitions, where there was one piece in the collection which consisted of a set of step ladders and hanging from the ceiling above was a magnifying glass. Intrigued, John climbed up the ladders, picked up the magnifying glass and looked through to a tiny piece of paper stuck to the ceiling with a word written on. The word was Yes.

In the interview John said that one of the reasons he was attracted to the piece of work, and therefore Yoko, was the word was Yes. It was positive. It was optimistic. It gave hope. It wasn’t No.

 About 18 months ago I made a suggestion at work. It was acknowledged and left at that. Months passed and nothing changed. I contacted the person again. A polite ‘thanks we’ll be in touch’ reply can back. A year passed, nothing changed. I tried someone else. Another polite ‘thanks we’ll contact you’ reply came back.

Now I’m not a big headed person, if the idea sucked I’d be OK with them saying that but the idea was really good. It came from someone who had insight into the service. It was cost effective. It was simple to implement. It was child/customer focused. It ticked the boxes of the corporate vision and values. It just made sense.

I realised that one of the problems was my circle of influence. Whilst I was approaching the decision makers and shakers, they may not understand enough about the positive impact this suggested change could have, and I didn’t have the influence to get an audience with them to be able to explain. Help!

I found out I needed a new approach. I couldn’t let a No get in the way of a really beneficial change. I needed to keep the creative energy going, and keep it going until that no became a yes.

I started to share the idea with those who had more influence on the decision makers and shakers. Those who already knew me, the team and a day in the life of the work we do. Those who would see that the idea was a great idea. Those who would be able to progress it further than I could. Those who had more influence than me. 

Working for an organisation faced with daily challenges and change it’s really important to listen to those on the frontline, to develop a process for creativity to be celebrated and encouraged, where structures and positions enable services to come together and don’t get in the way of progress.

In my life I’ve been described as having gumption and I think in situations like this it helps. Power to the people. The idea is now finally moving forward. The No could soon very well be a Yes. Imagine.

 Kate Bentham

20th June 2012

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