The Necessity & Value of ‘No’

With companies downsizing around the globe and people out of work  longer than ever, are you ready to tell your boss “no”?  Here is your video of the week and then read on…

IT shops have long-lived in an atmosphere of doing more with less, automation of tasks , and regular budget cuts.  Now more than ever, we are hearing about Analytics, Crowdsourcing, Agile, and Lean as approaches to streamline business decisions and development initiatives.  As this focus moves out across the organization and becomes a norm in more traditional business units (i.e – Sales & Marketing) I would venture to say this is becoming more of a business model then simply processes or methodologies.  Maybe it is the over-arching attitude in society that we need to do more and do it faster.  Anything less is a sign of being weak or inept at what we do.  The World Is Flat, Twitter, Netflix, etc all  point to the speed at which this society moves and the willingness of our competition to keep up with the pace…and neither the speed or the competition is about to slow down for you!

So where does “No” fit into all of this?

Now more than ever, you have got to build No into your repertoire. I don’t mean to say No should be your default, but the ability to recognize its need and confidence to deliver it.  Here are steps on how…

  1. Adjust your thinking – Nothing is more frustrating than hearing someone say how they are so much busier then you…”you don’t even know” is their mantra and it has infected out society in great masses.  Worse yet, it the mantra is worn as some kind of Badge of Honor.  Listen, being so busy that you can’t even talk about it is an issue unto itself, not a bullet for your resume.  This isn’t fiscal debt where you can irresponsibly make a commitment and then have the Government come and bail you out.  Missed deadlines are not because you are so busy; it is because you didn’t have the time management skills, awareness, or confidence to say “No.”  Read on, jump to a good time management blog, and embrace the necessity and value of No.
  2. Build Integrity – You may not have heard about Personal Branding, but you should look it up and make sure integrity is a part of your strategy.  If you are a person that always says no or constantly complains, then when the time comes to delivery a valid, necessary No you will have lost the value that comes with ‘No’.  You don’t need to be a patented engineer or industry award winner to have clout with your supervisor…you do need to be someone who says what you mean and does what you say.  It is amazing what you can accomplish and the leeway given when you are trusted.
  3. Leverage the ‘Enemy’ – For purposes of this discussion, the enemy includes the same methods and processes mentioned above (just go with me).  The very tools that are leading to less headcount at your company, providing your competition with real-time data, etc should be a part of your arsenal when identifying & delivering No.  All of these methods, processes, and tools provide techniques for you to obtain/develop the data you need to support your No.  Someone once said, In God we trust and all others bring data.  If you bring your supervisor the latest Gartner report just posted on Twitter 10 minutes ago, a ‘Lean’ pareto chart from your research, and position among priorities of an ‘Agile’ sprint session; I am pretty sure your No will not just serve its purpose, but will go a long way in establishing you as a leader in your org…that industry award may be right around corner.  You don’t have to be in manufacturing to leverage lean, or in software development to leverage Agile, or 17 yrs-old to be on Twitter.
  4. Adjust the plan –  We do not live in a perfect world, things do change and people take risks.  In the event that your boss pushes back and says “I hear what you are saying but we still need to move ahead,” then your next play is needs to be “What can we take of the plate or push to a later date?”  If that is not an option either, then know that you have shared your concerns and get to work…after all, there are 100 resumes on his/her desk of folks waiting to replace you.

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    Time Management Part 1 & Part 2 @ Manager Tools

    Myth of Multitasking @ Reforming Project Manager

    Time Management in Today’s World @ The PM Student


    2 thoughts on “The Necessity & Value of ‘No’

    1. I noticed that you listed this under the time management stuff. But I realized that all of your points were 1’s are you trying to tell us something.

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