Unfortunately, some people have not discovered this difference yet and tend to say “yes!” to each and every request they receive.
While organizing my notes from my numerous feeds, I rediscovered the following quote from Peter Drucker :
“ People are effective because they say “No”, not because they say “Yes.” “
I am also currently reading for the second time “The 7 habits of high effective people” by Stephen R. Covey and in his habit 3: Put first things first, he explained how to stay away from two ineffective quadrants (quadrant III and IV in the time management matrix).
If Peter Drucker and Stephen R. Covey tend to prove the efficiency of saying “No” , why is it so difficult to say “No” ?
Saying “No” is time consuming
The equation is simple: “Yes” is the opposite of “No” and therefore saying “No” costs you time because saying yes does not.
Saying yes to all requests reduces the time you are able to focus on others, therefore, reducing the global quality of your work. This will systematically unbalance your equilibrium work-life (do not forget your wife’s to do list).
Some people do not take No for an answer and will come back in the future with the same request again and again. If the condition of your prior answer did not change, you will have to reiterate the reason why you can not give a positive answer to this request. I am sure that you know people like that and you should thank them since they force you to learn what being patient mean.
Saying yes to all requests will also automatically attract people who tend to pawn off work they are suppose to do on you !
Do not forget that your company pays you to be effective and not simply to say yes.
So, are you organized enough to say no?
By being organized, I mean are you organized enough to be able to take a decision to accept or not upcoming tasks according to your current workload/schedule ? Are you able to clearly and quickly make decisions without being guided by your emotions (or feelings) ?
Saying “No” implies that you will have to defend and show the value of your current tasks and the only way to achieve this is to be able to show these tasks at anytime. You cannot afford to be vague when answering a request besides your answer should be “Yes or “No” and not “maybe”.
So, if you and your team are organized, you are armed to say “No!”. If not, you’d better start getting organized !
What if your boss can’t say “No!”
“Houston, we have another problem, I think my boss cannot say no”
Roger that, be prepared for an emergency landing! »
Indeed, if you can say “No” and your boss can not, your team will be forced to say yes and we are back to the starting point (Go to Jail. Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200).
The solution is not to organize your boss if he is not but your role as a direct is to report to him regularly. This regular meeting will make him conscious of the workload and status of the different tasks inside your team and he may therefore think twice before accepting a task his department could not handle.
When Relationship matters
Saying “yes” when it is impossible for you to keep up with your current tasks directly “undermines” your self respect. As I said in the beginning of this article, accepting more tasks reduce the quality of your work and logically impact the relationship you have with the originators of those previous tasks.
On the other hand, Saying “No” can have a significant impact on the relationship you have with the one who made the request. It is therefore essential to explain clearly the reason why you cannot provide a positive answer to a given request. you must listen and clarify the request before saying no in order for the requester to feel respected and not rejected.
The power to say”no” is first and foremost to know when to say “Yes”
Some people may find it popular to say “Yes, we can” but they will realize later that “No, We can not” is often the quickest way to efficiency.
Do you have the power to say “No” inside your company? And if not, why is it so ? I would love to hear your comments.