Category: Loyalty · 4 min read
6 Times it’s Okay to Say “No”
on April 11, 2019
on April 11, 2019
Are you a “yes” person? I know I can be. And while sometimes it’s necessary to say “yes” to business requests, initiatives, or value-adds, there are plenty of times when it’s okay to push back and say “no”, if you want to.
But it’s easy to say “yes”, right? It makes everyone happy, and it doesn’t usually lead to conflict. Even though it may feel wrong to turn something or someone down, saying “no” can protect your time and make you stay true to your values, goals, and priorities. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to stand your ground for something important and make room for other “yes’s”. I remember a cool quote from early on in my career: “If you learn to sell no, you’re a great salesman.”
Whether you’re a people-pleaser or just enthusiastic about all the possibilities laid before you, if you have a hard time saying “no”, this one’s for you. Here are six reasons why you should say “no”.
Even though it may feel wrong to turn something or someone down, saying “no” can protect your time and make you stay true to your values, goals, and priorities.
1. Quarterly Goals
Goals are what you’re going to accomplish this quarter or year, but they also can help define what you can say “no” to. What are your goals? You need to be focusing on them, right? Your quarterly goals and objectives help you prioritize your workload and focus on what’s important. So, when you get a request or an opportunity to do something that’s outside of those goals you’ve set, you have a clear reason to turn it down. Why? Because you can say “no” to things that don’t fit in your goals.
These are similar to your goals, but more specific. These are the day-to-day priorities that impact your overall business. There are many ways you can add value to your business and keep your practice growing, but not all of them are created equal. That means you can say “no” to the priorities and value-adds that won’t give you as much success as your other priorities. When you say “no” to lower priorities, it allows for better execution on the more important ones.
3. More Info, Please
Sometimes, saying “no” means you need more information before you can say “yes”. This means asking more questions to understand the “why” behind the request. Why do you need this? Why is this important? Asking “why” first can save you from having to say “no”, because it puts it back in the requestor’s court. It’s on them to supply you with all the details before you make a decision. In the end, it’s okay to say “no” if you need more information first.
4. Time for Consideration
You also don’t have to make a decision right away. You can think about the proposal or situation, and think through the pros and cons. It may not feel like you have time, or maybe the requester is using a timeline to pressure you, but you usually do have time to think it through and come to an informed decision. You don’t have to say “no” right away, especially if it’s a big ask. If you do think it through, make sure you let the person know your answer, so you don’t leave them hanging. Follow up with them and give them closure. Doing it this way can also help you think through your answer and give them a specific reason as to why you’re saying “no” this time.
5. Someone Else can Do It
It’s quite possible that the task you’ve been asked to do is better suited for someone else to accomplish, or it’s something that you can delegate. For that, you can give them a quick “no, but…” and tell them who you think should be the one doing it instead.
6. Protect Your People
Sometimes you have to say “no” to protect your staff and be respectful of their workload (and your workload, too). There’s only so much you and your staff can do, and adding on extra work can be detrimental to their morale and to the quality of their work they’re already doing. It can do more harm than good. Plus, saying “no” can enable your people to put the majority of their focus on the most important priorities of your business, instead of getting distracted by less-important tasks and activities. So, say “no” to be an advocate for your staff, and they’ll thank you for it.
Saying “no” can enable your people to put the majority of their focus on the most important priorities of your business, instead of getting distracted by less-important tasks and activities.
Look, I get it. It’s hard to say “no” to opportunities, priorities, and requests. We all want to do everything, but sometimes that’s not possible. Learning to say “no” effectively and protectively is healthy, and can help you stay focused on what matters, instead of using your time on things that aren’t profitable.
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