General Michael Hayden, now retired, writes in his book* about his years as Director, NSA and Director, CIA that in government -- and likely all of elsewhere:
"Yes is where the risk is"
The meaning is straightforward: the safe thing is to just say No. In fact, it seems that in government particularly that the "staffers" main job is to protect their "principals" by saying No. "No" becomes the default; too easily automatic.
In effect: anyone can say No and gum up the works; few can say Yes, and fewer can Yes and make it stick.
But regarding the risk of "Yes", Hayden's point is well taken: to reach out, to lean forward, to make a difference, to add value .... at some point you are going to have to say "Yes", or insist that your principal say "Yes". At that point, risk arises!
Of course, the theme of Hayden's book is: Use all the space given to you. Play to the edge; just don't cross the chalk line. And, if you do play to maximize your space, then heads up! You'll be challenged by those that want to make your space smaller.
Did I mention: Your performance is on the line! (Don't screw this up)
* "Playing to the Edge", pg 121
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