Just say no
…working and living with others.
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Spending your limited time on the things that really matter creates a more intentional and solid yes, builds trust and coherence.
If you believe that you must keep your promises, overdeliver and treat every commitment as though it's an opportunity for a transformation, the only way you can do this is to turn down most opportunities.
No I can't meet with you, no I can't sell it to you at this price, no I can't do this job justice, no I can't come to your party, no I can't help you. I'm sorry, but no, I can't. Not if I want to do the very things that people value my work for.
No is the foundation that we can build our yes on.
Here are nine practices to say a strategic no in order to create space in your life for a more intentional yes.
- Know your no. Identify what's important to you and acknowledge what's not.
- Be appreciative.
- Say no to the request, not the person.
- Explain why.
- Be as resolute as they are pushy.
- Establish a pre-emptive no.
- Be prepared to miss out.
- Gather your courage.
Say no to all issues that do not align with values, goals and norms—that fall outside the tolerance of your self or your organization.
- To say “Yes” is about quantity.
- To say “No” is about quality.
- To say “No” gives certainty, dependability, safety and sureness.
Approach (similar to consent process):
- Actively listen to the other's question.
- Say “No’”.
- Show understanding for any response or reaction.
- Provide a focused motivation of your “No”.
- Find a solution.
- Track progress.
Make it easy and safe for people to say “No” to you, too. Otherwise, first time you notice your plans are wrong is when it is too late.
Each time you say yes, remember to also say no to something else.
When you first try this, you may worry that people…
- are going to get mad at you;
- will dislike you;
- will stop asking for you to help or work with them.
It turns out this is a false truth living in your head. People end up respecting you for being clear about my priorities and boundaries. And the requests, well, it seems like you’ll be getting even more than ever being harder to reach.
Listen to the other's request and provide an understanding “No”, along with its motivation. Find a solution and track progress.
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- Saying "yes" to one thing is simultaneously saying "not right now" to many things.
- You have to say no to a lot of good things in order to be able to say yes to a lot of great things
- Mountain Goat Software » Mike Cohn » Six Guidelines for Saying No to a Stakeholder
- Don’t just do something, stand there!—Ten Principles for Leading Meetings That Matter by Marvin Weisbord, Sandra Janoff
- Amazon » Fergus O’Connel » The Power of Doing Less
- Greg McKeown » Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
- LinkedIn » Dan Harper » The Power of “No”
- HBR » Peter Bregman » Nine Practices to Help You Say No
- HBR » Ed Batista » Learning to Say “No” Is Part of Success
- Seth’s Blog » Seth Godin » No is essential
- Tim Harford » The power of saying no
- HBR » Ron Ashkenas, Matthew McCreight » The power of saying no
- Medium » Steve Hayes » Please say “NO”
|Author||Marvin Weisbord + and Sandra Janoff +|
|Goal||make your ‘yes’ mean something +|
|So||Listen to the other's request and provide an understanding “No”, along with its motivation. Find a solution and track progress. +|
|Theme||Agile +, Lean +, Jumpstart + and Don’t just do something +|
|Wish||Spending your limited time on the things that really matter creates a more intentional and solid yes, builds trust and coherence. +|