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GET TO YES

Updated: Mar 15

My husband can wax poetic about two things: the UCLA Bruins and fried chicken. While his love of the Bruins waxes and wanes with their performance, [the 2024 men's basketball season? Don’t ask.] his love of fried chicken is unwavering. He can describe nearly all the fried chicken meals he has enjoyed over the course of his lifetime down the tiniest detail.


When we first met two decades ago he would reminisce about his family’s Sunday night tradition of dining at Bit O’ Scotland on LA’s Westside where he grew up. The fried chicken he ate there in his youth was the stuff that dreams are made of: The skin was salty and crispy, puffy in a way that created this sauna-like gap between the skin and the meat… the chicken was so juicy it ran down your chin when you bit into it. This wasn’t just any ol’ meal…it was an experience.


For his birthday that first year together I wanted to plan a Trip-Down-Memory-Lane picnic: an afternoon that included Bit O’Scotland’s fried chicken and golf at Holmby Hills Country Club: a neighborhood course where I was told he and his younger brother would routinely “sneak” on to play a few holes after dinner. I was not familiar with Bit O’ Scotland OR Holmby Hills Country Club so I did what anyone in the 21st century would do: I turned to the internet. I couldn’t locate a website for either, which was strange, but after going down a few rabbit holes I found a Bit O’Scotland business with a phone number listed. I called. A man picked up, but he said something other than "Bit O’Scotland" when he answered.


ME: I must have the wrong number. I was trying to reach Bit O’Scotland.

HIM: Oh wow. Blast from the past! That was my parent’s restaurant but they closed that years ago.

ME: I’m so sorry to hear that. My friend has such wonderful memories of dining there as a kid, and I wanted to surprise him with takeout fried chicken for a picnic on his birthday.

HIM: I have a restaurant on the Westside of my own now, but fried chicken isn’t on our menu. When did you say this picnic was planned for?

ME: Next Thursday.

HIM: I’ll tell you what: Call me next Wednesday to remind me to pick up a whole chicken at the market on my way home. I still have all my parents old recipes and if you remember to call me I will help you make good on your Memory Lane idea.


Holmby Hills Country Club was a different story. I left message after message on their answering machine for a week but no one ever called me back to make a tee time. Not one to be discouraged, I threw golf clubs in the trunk of the car the following Thursday and headed to pick up my husband AND the fried chicken, which was hot and ready at the appointed time. Shout out to John O’Groats on the Westside for going the extra mile — the chicken was every bit as good as my husband remembered, and the generosity from where this owner operated from screams good karma and good faith. It would have been very easy…the easiest…for him to tell me to take a hike, but he didn’t. He never once hesitated; in fact, offering to prepare the off-menu fried chicken was HIS idea. To grant my wish, to say YES, was within his “power”; power that he exercised simply for the surprise and delight of a stranger, and here I am, twenty years later still talking about it.


I am still talking about it because YES still feels rare. I can remember thinking more than once while working at a previous firm: I want to work for a company that isn't afraid to say yes; that every idea, suggestion, isn't dismissed before having the opportunity to be fully ideated. That we weren't in always such a rush to protect the status quo. That we could look beyond all the reasons why something wouldn't work. Why are we afraid to take a chance, to jump into the unknown, to risk looking foolish, when all evidence indicates YES could equate to the building of trust, the development of high performing teams and all kinds of growth?


As a leader, who do you have the power to say YES to, even if it might require additional effort, force you to go beyond what is reasonable, go off-script? Often our first, knee jerk response is to decline, say no, without pausing to contemplate, why not? No is sometimes easier, but YES taps into what’s possible. YES is exciting. YES expands our perspective, empowers our teams, breathes original thinking into an often otherwise stale and ho-hum workplace. YES sparks creativity and gives us energy. YES opens us up to new opportunities, new challenges. By saying YES, we naturally adopt a growth mindset, leading with our curiosity. YES invites collaboration and signals trust. YES creates an environment where it’s safe to try, fail, learn, and innovate.

What, and more importantly WHO, can you say YES to today?


PS. Turns out Holmby Hills “Country Club” is simply a park in the middle of a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood, hardly the grand, manicured course I had envisioned when my husband referred to his post-dinner adventures with his brother. The laughter that ensued when I described to him how “I called and called” was worth the embarrassment as I soon discovered the phone is unmanned and located in a little wooden hut where you can rent clubs and play 18 very short holes for the steep price of $1.




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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

This is a great story!! Oh, the possibilities of more Yes!!

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Thank you Lori!

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love this!!!

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Thank you Lynn!

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