The Brain Does Not Do NO!

by Jun 30, 2021

The Brain Does Not Do NO!

A lesson learned a long time ago from my father got reinforced again for me this past week. It applies in many cases more now than ever, and in a few very specific points it is “the only way to think”.

I was very fortunate to grow up with parents that were closely involved in my life. As a youngster I was involved in “Scouting”, meaning Boy Scouts and their younger versions, Cub Scouts. I was very fortunate to have both of my parents involved in both of those journeys with me. My mother was my “Den Mother” in Cub Scouts, and my father was my “Pack Master” at that time. This was just one of the many places that my parents intentionally chose to participate in my life.

At about the same time I grew up playing baseball and participating in Little League baseball. In this part of my youth my father was my team Coach. It was in this part of my youth that I learned a lesson from my dad that carries on today and means more than ever.

When my “coach” would be working with our team on any one of a hundred different skills I would often hear him say you can’t do NO”.

What he was saying is a fundamental part of the way the brain actually works. Now, I’m not quite sure where my dad picked this brilliant understanding up from, because his formal education stopped with high school, but I DO know that this is a critical part of understanding functional brain workings.

What “you can’t do NO” means is simply that the human brain cannot comprehend the “negative” part of a statement. Let’s use the example of a golfer standing at the tee facing a simple 175 yard shot to the green, BUT over a lake. While we know the objective is to put the ball in the hole on the green, most of us would stand there thinking VERY loudly to ourselves… DON’T HIT THE WATER! It’s not magic, although it seems very diabolical, but that simple statement actually gets understood in simple action terms to quite literally mean “HIT THE WATER”. The “don’t” part of that phrase does NOT impact the brain process and gets left out of the directive to the brain.

In my dad’s case he would be giving us batting coaching and I would be stepping out away from an incoming pitch as it was crossing the plate in front of me… swinging and missing the ball. His directions to me was NOT, don’t step out when you swing, which is the error that I was making. Instead his coaching would say…”step INTO the pitch”. Don’t was not included. He knew what worked.

And that is what we need today….desperately! We are all so overwhelmed with the tactical responsive demands of our systems that we are NOT spending enough time on the growth oriented side of our world, both business and personal.

In our own little team at Microchip the client demands to service their “issues” are at an all time high. Business is booming and is extremely pressure filled at every corner. Our clients are reaching out to every resource that they can touch to get any help that they can to solve their challenges… AND that is a good thing! As long as we direct the interactions appropriately.

Like most every B2B entity out there our team has roles that we are structured to execute. The client works hard to break down those structures and “include” everyone in their supply chain challenges. They contact our inside team, our outside team, our corporate planning teams, our leadership team… everyone they can. We understand. There is a better way.

Here is where “you can’t do NO” comes into play.

While it would be very easy to communicate with our team and simply tell them that those that have a role that is not supply chain specialization should NOT participate in these actions…that “you can’t do NO” does not work here either.

In the focus of CUSP (Care greatly, Understand deeply, Serve endlessly with Purpose) you cannot effectively tell someone to NOT care. In fact we actually want the opposite….Care greatly! So what do we do? We coach the way my dad would…

In conversations with our clients, where they are wanting to get everyone drug into the “conversations” our way of serving them at the very highest level, is by Caring the most, and making sure that they get the best service.

We do that by a simple redirection…. And it looks like this..

“Martha (made up client’s name), I care greatly about you and your team receiving the very best information and service that we can possibly deliver to you. While I am happy to also help, our true EXPERTS in serving you in this area is our amazing team of SUPPLY CHAIN SPECIALISTS. Let’s get them on a call together and get this all understood.”

So, we don’t tell ourselves or our team that “WE” don’t have those kind of conversations…but rather, the best people in the world to help our clients is…(whoever that would be in each instance).

We “don’t do NO”… We DO work hard to serve our client by putting them in the very best hands of those that can do the most good… and then we fade into the background as it progresses, to do the rest of the work needed to grow our outcomes.

This is a coaching discussion, both internally and externally that we all must have to insure the ongoing growth of ALL aspects of our endeavors.

We don’t do NO…
AND we do…

Care greatly,
Understand deeply,
Serve endlessly with


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