Request Command


Say “no” to protect your “yes.”



Social contracting is what makes life happen. This effect occurs when people interact with each other in a manner that results in action. Social contracting is made up of three elements that are often undistinguished from each other. The first element is the ‘Statement’. ‘I am hungry’ is a statement and requires no response. ‘Would you please make me a sandwich’ is a request. REQUESTS invite responses of either ‘no’ or ‘yes’. Both responses must be acceptable. ‘Get me a sandwich’ is a command. The only acceptable response is ‘Yes’. Too often these elements are not distinguished. People use statements when they are really making REQUESTS or even commands. Healthy organizations distinguish these three elements and require people to use each element appropriately.


Cultures of integrity recognize social contracts and understand saying “no” is an acceptable response to a REQUEST. “No” is an honest answer and prevents others from failing on commitments and committing BREACH.


Understanding social contracts and the differences between statements, requests, and commands are central to maintaining INTEGRITY.