Tue | Mar 20, 2018

A medical check up

Published:Sunday | December 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM

We conducted a medical assessment of the nation. We share the results today. As you look at the results, reflect on whether you are suffering from any of the ailments or if they are present in your family, group, or organisation.




In the classic case of 'no-no itis', no matter how good and timely the suggestion, someone shoots it down. When full blown, nothing gets full support. Somebody has to take a stand against suggestions.

One thing is sure - nobody is going anywhere fast and precious little is going to get done.

Common causes of 'no-no-itis' include:

- Doubt and fear - We can't do this. We are not prepared. We don't have the resources. Be realistic.

- Habit - Somebody objects for no real reason. They get into the habit and it becomes accepted practice. Internal rationalisation for the objection include: 'You just can't let people take you for granted', 'We have to keep them on their toes', 'They did it to us'.

- Inadequate information - This reflects a situation in which the objector has not fully grasped the facts. Ignorance is at the heart of their objection.

- Failure to trust the judgement of others - This condition can be caused by either low self-esteem or arrogance. Low self-esteem leads to trust issues. Arrogance encourages the view that 'they don't know what they are doing'.

- Excessive confidence in own judgement - I am the expert here. They did not even ask my opinion. They are dead wrong.

- Absence of feeling of belonging - This arises when people feel left out. The proposal is seen as benefiting insiders or an exclusive group.




1. Be patient. This tends to be a recurrent problem.

2. Go the extra mile. Try to clarify what is being proposed.

3. Focus attention on being inclusive. Remove potential special interest distractions.

4. Spend time working to identify the exact nature of the objection.

5. Ask the critical question: 'What can we do to resolve this issue?'

6. Find out what constitutes resolution for all parties. In which direction does the solution lie?

7. Make the effort to resolve each issue. The more win-win solutions that we find, the less reason there is for a 'no-no' response.

8. Analyse all objections. If people are clear that they are going to be required to go through an exhaustive process of analysis, they may be less willing to raise frivolous objections.




'Know-know-itis' is also a major platform for no-no-itis.

When you 'know-know' you can always find many reasons to manifest 'no-no'.

'Know-know-itis', puts you in a position where you just happen to already know all that needs to be known. 'I know more than the so-called experts.'




1. Expose ignorance through enlightenment. Showing how much more there is to learn will expose gaps in their knowledge.

2. Call them out to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to apply it.

3. Conduct due diligence. Check the validity of the information that is being presented.




The head of the yo-yo is all over the place and so are those suffering from 'yo-yo-itis'.

You are challenged to know where their head will be at any point in time. It is difficult to make progress in the absence of logic, predictability and consistency.




1. Get commitments in writing.

2. Discuss issues fully to uncover reservations that might prompt a shift in position.

3. Incorporate alternative strategies in your planning, taking care to anticipate possible eventualities.

4. Put backup plans in place.

5. Set up agile monitoring systems to identify and head off any deviation from agreements.

These issues are having a negative impact on performance individually, in our groups, organisations and nationally. It is a behavioural epidemic. Let us diagnose and apply the prescriptions.

Next time, we will examine other conditions holding us back.

Now enrolling for the certified behavioural coach 2017 programme. Register now.

- Trevor E. S. Smith is a behaviour modification coach with the Success with People Academy, home of formal coaching certification that is accredited by the International Coach Federation and the Society for Human Resource Management. Email: info@swpacademy.com