It can be important to say no, especially in business. Just as saying ‘yes’ can open up new opportunities, sometimes it’s when we say no, that we stay focused on our goals.
We occasionally meet up with our bookkeeper, Malcolm. He came to our office last week, and noticed a book on our shelves called 3 Steps to Yes, and he commented that perhaps a better title would be 3 steps to No. I pondered this point. My first thought that was that many people stay “stuck” because of their inability to say ‘yes’ to new ideas and concepts. My first book, Raise Your Game encourages readers to stretch their comfort zone in order to further excel. But his comment niggled away, and my RAS was set to look out for the impact of business owners who don’t say no.
Do you say “yes”, when you mean “no”?
Most of the time I don’t have a problem saying “no”, but I thought about some of my clients and it is true that some of them do say “yes” when they probably mean “no”. Perhaps you can relate to that? Perhaps you’ve had the experience that when you say “yes” to something you don’t necessarily want to get involved in, means you’re spending time and energy on something that’s not really engaging, or even taking your business in the direction you’d set for it. Perhaps you even begin to resent saying yes!
Saying “no” becomes easier when you have a burning “yes”
For me, the turning point in being able to say ‘no’, came when I read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He talks about it being MUCH EASIER to say ‘no’ when you have a ‘burning yes’. For example it’s usually easy is to say no when you have something else planned that you’re excited by and looking forward to. A business example is when you have a clear marketing strategy for your business, it makes it much easier to listen to other ideas, and if they don’t fit with the direction you’ve set, you can say “thank you, and at this time what you’re offering doesn’t fit with my plans. The answer is no”.
Think for a moment about how much time this will save you. When you’re not sure what your business direction is, and a new idea enters your field of vision, you’ll spend time looking at it, you may tell the vendor that “I’ll think about it, and get back to you”. They then follow up, and perhaps you haven’t decided, or don’t really have the heart to say ‘no’, so you ignore their call. They call back. It becomes embarrassing.
Of course it’s not lack of ability to say no. Everyone can do it. I could ask you to gift me a million pounds – see, it’s easy to say no. ‘Something’ gets in the way of us saying no. It can be ‘guilt’ or ‘sense of duty’ and more often than not, it’s because we’ve got nothing better planned – so it’s much harder!
Clear direction enables you to say no to what doesn’t fit
So, my tip is, know what you want, have a clear direction and strategy. I’ve listed a number of of our blogs below to assist you create your plan, because when you work your plan you will find it easier to say no.
We do run both strategic planning and 90 day planning events. If you would like any assistance in setting your plan, do give us a call on 07973 288043. We certainly know it can be easier to do with a bit of gentle facilitation! Go on, give us a call – you can always practice saying no if you don’t like what you hear!
Because having some idea of what you want your business to look like / how you want it to function in the future is so important. We’ve written a number of other blogs that you might be interested in taking a look at the following blogs on Planning:
- Why plan?
- Introduction to planning
- Strategic planning
- Planning the right level of detail
- Setting SMART goals
If you would like a few tips on how to hold your team accountable for their actions then take a look at our blog on how to be assertive.