The Naïve Yes

PROVO, Utah – Jan 09, 2019 – Successful business leaders need to be able to act in spite of fear. At a recent Power Panel hosted by BYU Marriott’s MBA Women in Management Club, speaker Liz Wiseman encouraged those in attendance to do this by saying yes—fast. She calls this approach “the naïve yes.” 

Wiseman, a BYU graduate, is the bestselling author of “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” and the president of her own management consulting company, The Wiseman Group. At the event she spoke alongside fellow BYU alumni Ruth Todd, former award-winning news anchor in Salt Lake City and public affairs executive at Nu Skin, and Sariah Toronto, social impact professional and business executive at Claritas. 

Megan Brewster, second-year MBA student from Salt Lake City and WIM club president, says the point of the event was to help students get their questions answered by women they see as successful. During the panel, Wiseman and Toronto answered questions about what to do when faced with fear. “Whenever someone asks me to do something I don’t know how to do, I just say yes,” Wiseman says. “Then I have to figure out how to do it. I started writing my first book by simply signing a contract.”

Toronto compared the fear women may have as leaders in business to her experience swimming in the Puget Sound in the state of Washington. “The water is very cold, and it seems like too much at the beginning,” she explains. “But if you want to have that experience, you just have to do it. Leadership comes with a responsibility to use your voice. When I’m experiencing fear, I have to acknowledge it, tell myself to ignore it, and just dive in.” 

The panel members all agreed that life rarely turns out the way we plan; there will always be twists, turns, and bumps. However, they encouraged the students not to label their experiences as failures. “There is growth tied to every one of those bumps in the road,” Todd says. “The hardest days and the biggest bumps are where I learned the most. I don’t regret a thing.”

Wiseman encouraged the students not to be too hard on themselves. She says they may eventually feel pressure from others to set goals outside their personal ambitions, but encouraged the students to avoid these situations because halfheartedly pursuing goals often leads to unwarranted feelings of failure. “I’ve messed a bunch of things up, but I don’t think I’ve ever stopped and said, ‘Wow, you really failed at that,’” Wiseman says. “Stop marking things as failures; things just didn't go as expected.” 

Events like the power panel that introduce women to successful role models in the field of business are part of the purpose of the WIM club. Brewster says she’s had an absolutely transformative and positive experience in the MBA program, in part due to WIM. Her main takeaway from the event was she has more power than she realized. “A big part of these events is just showing women in business what’s possible,” she says. 

The Power Panel attendees stand behind the speakers and pose for a photo.
The Power Panel attendees stand behind the speakers and pose for a photo.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Katie Harris