What is the Cost of Saying ‘No’?

This month, I’ve been treating November as NO-vember.

It came out of a conversation about how hard it is, sometimes, for leaders to say ‘no’. We get excited and have a desire to help and serve. We’re always looking for better opportunities and potential profits, and to improve our organizations. We want to please our customers.

But, in reality, some of the most important decisions we make come from saying ‘no’. Think of it as tending a garden – of pruning back what doesn’t serve you to free up resources, and to encourage new, and more vigorous, impactful growth.

Most organizations have teams working incredibly hard on too many low things which add up to very little impact or, in some cases, a negative impact on the business. And most of the companies we’ve worked with, over the years, often needed to prune back distracting and underperforming ideas.

Guilty, as Charged

Now, I’m guilty of saying ‘yes’ way too often, so constantly work on mastering saying ‘no’. As a recovering ‘yesaholic’, I still struggle with adding unnecessary complexity to things my team and I do.

But, as executives, it’s our job is to continually figure what make sense and to continually cull them from the business so that precious resources are spent on what matters most.

The Challenge 

    • If you were to rate yourself from 0 -10, how good are you at saying ‘no’?
    • Consider practicing, for the rest of this month, saying ‘no’ before ‘yes’ on new things that come up
    • Look for a handful of things that are currently happening that you could say ‘no’ to for 2024.

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