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Why You Need to Surround Yourself With Nay-Sayers and Yes-Sayers

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 4/04/2016 Margarita Hakobyan

When you're an entrepreneur, you're constantly bombarded with good advice. One of the most common subjects of discussion is who should make up your inner circle. Do you want people who constantly challenge you and are never satisfied? Or are you better off with people who say yes to your ideas and encourage your creativity?
If you've been in business for a while, you might not be surprised to hear that you need both types of people in your business life. Let's talk about the importance of hearing yes -- and no.
The importance of hearing yes
There are times in your entrepreneurial life when you're discouraged. It feels like all your ideas are junk, all of your efforts are for naught, and there's absolutely nothing that you can get right.
When you hit that point -- and if you haven't yet, give it time, you will -- you need people around you who can say yes. Not people who say yes to curry favor, that type is never useful in your business, but the people who say yes out of enthusiasm and faith in your skills and work to date.
When you go to them with your discouraged worries, they remind you that you've felt this way before, but the company pulled through. They remind you that you're good at solution finding, or at surrounding yourself with the very best people, or at turning marketing around and finding success for all of the business's employees.
They refill your courage, and help you feel like you can go back to the table with fresh ideas and new concepts that will take your company to the next level.
The necessity of saying no
There are people in your work life who focus on saying no every time they can. They focus entirely on the ghosts of the past and are unwilling to look forward. Just like we're not interested in people who say yes to get on your good side, we're not interested here in people who say no out of reflex.
There are people, however, who look at "no," not as an endpoint, but as a starting place for creativity. While they may think "No, that's not going to work," they phrase it as "That's a great starting point, let's talk about how that's going to work and get more done."
Sure, they'll tell you if you come up with an idea that's completely off the wall, but their "no" is based more in grounding your ideas in reality. They aren't looking to maintain the status quo so much as want to encourage you to make your ideas happen, and know that ideas have to intersect with reality if they're going to be more than dreams.
So who should be part of your inner circle?
I once worked with a district manager in Salt Lake City who said that the smartest business decision he ever made was hiring people who were smarter than him. He deliberately sought out and hired people who were experts at areas where he was weak. He then gave those people control over the areas where they were experts. He checked in on them, learned from them, and stayed aware of what they were doing, but he let them be in charge of their areas.
This is a great model for an entrepreneur's inner circle of advisors and mentors. You need a mix of people who will encourage you when you're discouraged and people who will reality check your ideas when you're out of touch with what is possible right now.
Instead of thinking of the people around you as yes-people or nay-sayers, consider them as "Why" and "Why not?" People.
When you come up with an exciting new idea for your company, you want people who are going to ask you why. Why now, why this plan, why this idea, why this product? You want people who are going to ask you why not? Why not try it, why not explore it, why not see how it plays out?
By making sure to have people on both sides of the question, you ensure a balanced perspective towards your ideas and your business, which will help you create an expansive and positive business concept.

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