Thought for the Week – N is for “No”!

I hope you had a great weekend.

You will know by now that my weekly blog is all about the A to Z’s of Success of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders and we look at one letter each week. I have also been emailing it to you each week.

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “M is for Move with the Cheese”.

This week is all about “N is for No”!

N is for saying “No” when we need to!

Many business owners and leaders really struggle with this because, of course we want to be able to say “yes” and at the same time know we can’t say yes to everything

It all boils down to …

  1. WHEN to say “No”, and
  2. HOW to say ‘No” in such a way that we feel good about!

1.When to say “No”

Firstly, whether it’s a colleague asking you to do something for them, or a client, of course we have to decide whether the request is within our area of focus and / or responsibility.

The key here is to be crystal clear about what it is you provide and decide whether you want to take this on or not. All too often the waters get muddied because we want to be flexible and helpful – right?

The thing is though; if we are not clear, then how can we expect the other person to be clear about what we do and don’t do?

And then once we do something outside of our area of focus, we will hear;

“Well, you did it for me last time”! Sound familiar?

Then yes, we have set a precedent, then becomes even trickier to say “No”!

When it comes to clients, we have to be clear about …

  • what it is we do,
  • what problems we solve and
  • be specific about what we can and can’t help them with.

Another thing to consider is …

There is no free lunch!

And this works both ways for the person asking and for the person being asked.

Most of us learn early in life that we can’t get something for nothing. It’s a lesson we sometimes forget and have to re-learn (more than once).

Choices are necessary, if not always pleasant. There’s only so much time and money and talent available at one time and spending an hour on one thing means that we know we can’t spend this hour on something else.

And a pound spent on one thing is a pound no longer available for something else and we have to make choices all the time.

Harvard Professor Michael Porter describes the essence of strategy as; 

“deciding what not to do.” He says; 

“Leaders who aren’t able to make tough choices doom their organizations to mediocrity when they do too many things in an adequate way and nothing with excellence as the desirable standard”

The hardest thing for a new company to do is say “No” to a customer. But if you chase every shiny penny you see coming, you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up somewhere you didn’t want to be!

Businesses evolve, but they can’t be everything to everybody. Recognising when trade-offs have to be made, and having the mental discipline to make hard choices often separates the winners from the losers.

To help with saying “No”, here is a list of things to ask yourself before saying “Yes” …

  • How do I feel about this request?
  • Do I really want this or doing it to please someone else?
  • What is the benefit to me in saying “yes”?
  • What is the cost of saying “no”?
  • If I do this, will I enjoy it?
  • Do I have to answer right now or can I delay my decision?
  • Do I need more information before I make my decision?
  • Would I prefer an alternative? If so, what?

Then we come to …

2.HOW to say “No” 

This is all about how we communicate, in what situation we find ourselves in, whether the person making the request is a client, a colleague, a supplier or your boss, if you have one, etc.

So, HOW we say no has to match the dynamics here of course.

This is something I go into in more depth in my new Group Coaching Programme starting soon called “The Communication Code –

If you would like to know more, you can find out here:

Also, if you haven’t already booked your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me, you can book it HERE and we can meet via Zoom or Skype.

There is absolutely NO OBLIGATION. So it really is a no-brainer.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.

Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”

Published by korinnethrive

Hello, I’m Korinne … I work with committed and determined professionals who want to master their communuac skills. Often business people believe they are doing OK and yet they know they are not getting the results they want and deserve. I’m passionate about helping people to achieve thir vision and get results. I have been working with Business Owners and Leaders for more that 25 years, helping them to realise their vision of what they truly want, overcome barriers to effective communication, so they can be the best version of themselves and thrive in their lives.

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