No No No

Methods of saying ‘no’ to your boss or co-worker — Business Fables “Learn the Art of Saying No.” provides ten. ‘No’ seems to be the most difficult word to use in a business relationship, maybe any relationship. ‘No’ carries with it disappointment from every angle. The receiver didn’t get what they wanted, the giver couldn’t make the receiver happy….probably the only thing worse than saying no is saying yes when you shouldn’t.

For example: “Yes, we’ll do that.” — but you don’t.

“Sure, I’ll rush that.” — but now ten other folks get their stuff late.

“I would love to speak at your meeting.” — but you wouldn’t and your attitude shows.

“Lets move forward on all these projects.” — and each one gets too little funding to be done well.

“We’ll add that feature right now.” — even though it adds more complexity than benefit and destroys lead times.

‘No’ is the great, underused tool of managing expectations. ‘No’ can focus people everywhere on the mystical 80% effort rule where profit maximization lives. ‘No’ is a necessary leadership word that focuses you, your team and your customers on the important aspects of what you do well.

That being said here’s a fair warning: There is an art to all this. ‘No’ requires creativity. Say ‘no’ at the wrong time in the wrong way and it’s mystical powers can dramatically backfire.

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