The Other Side of No

I usually post once a week on Mondays, but I recently engaged in a great conversation on the very topic I posted earlier this week…saying No, so I had to post an ‘extra’ this week.  I am not schizophrenic…On my last post I wrote how you have to learn how to say No and today I am telling you that you don’t have to say no.

Every week I post a video…here is the one for this ‘bonus’ post.

As mentioned, I engaged in a discussion this week that started with a simple question “How do you tell a customer ‘No’?”  The responses were great…lead with a positive, express the value vs. cost, etc etc etc.  Some of the same things I spoke about in my last blog post.  However, there were a few folks that brought up a good point…we do not have to tell them anything!

As Project Managers we need to remember that our job is to present the data in an impartial manner so the executives/sponsors/stakeholders can make the decision for us to THEN ‘enforce’.   Don’t get me wrong, decision making is something that PMs must do with great skill and confidence…when the item in debate is within the accepted scope of the project.  Just as I have seen my share of ‘weak’ PMs play hot-potato and dance around decisions (you have to read Geoff Crane’s ebook and look for “The Deer In Headlines”, pg 15).   I have also seen PMs make business decisions that should have been raised as a Change Request for the stakeholders to decide on.

As a PM we often take hold of projects with great pride and personal investment…you would think they were our children.  We have to remember that we are there to bring the vision of our customer/client to reality, not to tell them what their vision is.   So, my last post still applies here (especially w/your boss adding work to your plate) in that you need data to present the risks of yes, but let your customer/client say ‘no’.

If you approach ‘No’ in this manner, it should make it less stressful, keep you on the positive side of things, and in turn making the customer/client more receptive to the reality of their vision…and get them to say No.

You continue to lead and get on the other side of No.

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