Yes, if it makes sense!
Yangos Hadjiyannis 13:18 - 15 January 2024
If there is one principle guiding my business decisions throughout is my career is the notion of “Yes, if it makes sense”.
I have always been prone to yes rather than no, from simple things to more complicated business decisions. What has changed, however, as a result of the wisdom accumulated through experience, maturity and human interaction is that fewer things make sense compared to my early career years.
When I refer to “sense” this is not a simple analysis as it covers many different business parameters:
- Strategy Sense: Any decision which has a strategic impact has to be aligned with the overall strategy of the Organisation. On many occasions, proposals for new projects, though exciting and promising, may not fit the current strategy and as such are rejected.
- Vision Sense: Any Organisation must have a clear vision and mission if it is to be successful. This requires new projects to be of added value and to be aligned with the vision.
- Brand/Marketing Sense: For our organisation, our Brand is the most valuable asset. We need to reinforce our Brand as the leading Business School in Cyprus and have a clear communication strategy. Any new venture must reinforce the brand and in no way jeopardize it.
- Resources Sense: On many occasions, a new proposal cannot be supported by the resources of the Organisation, especially in terms of people.
- Emotional Sense: You and your team must feel good when embarking on new project both in terms of the purpose of the project but also when working with other teams.
- Timing Sense: Timing is of crucial importance. Timing can refer to both external factors such as the state of the economy, changes in law etc. but also to internal factors relating to the human element.
Of course one can state additional parameters which should make sense. So my personal understanding is the over the years, despite the fact that I remain prone to “Yes”, fewer and fewer projects make sense. And I believe this reflects also to the stage of maturity of an Organisation as well as its success. An Organisation which is at mature stage of development and has successfully implemented its vision can filter more thoroughly and diligently new ventures. My father, and founder of our Business School has his own motto “Sometimes the best business is the one you never make”. This embodies the notion that the burden of a wrong strategic choice on many occasions outweighs the benefit of success. And this is true as long as you are not using this logic to simply reject the possibility of investigating more new possibilities.
Prof. Mark de Rond of Judge Business School, University of Cambridge is one of the most acclaimed scholars in the area of human behaviour and negotiation. During a workshop of Negotiations which I attended recently, and was delivered by Mark, he analysed as one of the most important tactics of commencing negotiations the notion of “Help me to Understand”. This proposition reinforces my experiential learning journey that led me to develop my own theory of “Yes if it makes sense”. It provokes the other party in a subtle and inviting way to build their argument and make sense of information. It is apparent on multiple occasions that the other party cannot present in a rational and sensible way their argument/proposal. So invite everyone to follow the rationale of asking colleagues, associates, stakeholders and others to “Help me Understand” or to transfer the positive but highly complex idea of “Yes, if it makes Sense”.
Yangos Hadjiyannis, CEO, CIM-Cyprus Business School