7 reasons to say 'no!' more often this year

Ivy Cheng - 02/01/2018
No! No! No! No! No!

As we begin the new year may will be setting up endless lists of resolutions. Some will be fulfilled, others rolled over to next year. For me, the most important resolution is to take better care of myself, by learning to say no!

It may be nice to say yes to most things, but there are occasions where doing so will lead to difficulty or even disaster.

Here are seven scenarios where no seems to be the better option. It may seem obvious, but I have bore witness to smart people who get themselves into trouble by thinking they will somehow work everything eventually. It is not necessary to be in such an awkward position, recognise these scenarios and just say No!

1. Say NO! when you are not ready

Many people say yes to a manager or client when the puzzle pieces are not in place. Great work requires preparation. Agreeing to take on difficult initiatives is a disaster waiting to happen if you are not prepared. Say No! so you can get everything and everyone on board and ready. Then you can say yes with confidence and actually succeed.

2. Say NO! when it is not a fit

Entrepreneurs and Sales professionals tend to see the potential in everything and everybody. But time is often wasted on prospects who cannot be converted into returns, investments or professional partners. Watch out for warning signs and learn to say No!, you can always revisit the opportunity if compatibility improves.

3. Say NO! when you are overwhelmed

Some people are afraid to say No! even when they have too much going on. They think it is necessary to respond positively to avoid disappointing their managers or peers. Then things fall through the cracks and they end up breaking down. In this case, an impossible yes is far more destructive then just saying No! in the first place. Have a realistic sense of your capacity and do your very best, but never above your limit.

4. Say NO! when it is unrealistic

People often ask for what they want with little or no consideration of what is involved for delivery. I do not subscribe to the "customer is always right" theory. As a consultant, I wonder, if they are always right, why would they want to pay or waste time talking to me? Be the expert when someone asks for something. Never over commit or make up lies. Do your homework and say yes only when you know it can really happen. Otherwise, keep that "maybe" handy.

5. Say NO! when there is no reason for a yes

It is hard enough to move steadily toward your goals without having to regain lost ground. When recruiters approached you with an opportunity that does not add value in the longer term, ask yourself: "Why am I even interested in this?" You may be surprised that there is no compelling reasons to go ahead with it. When that happens, declare No! and move on to other opportunities that better align with your goals.

6. Say NO! when It is not profitable

You are in business for many reasons, but nearly everyone - founders and employees alike - is in into profit, monetary or not. Sometimes a transaction can result in a stronger and better connected network, knowledge, satisfaction or just plain money. But when a transaction does nothing to better the people involved, then the word No! should be used.

7. Say NO! when you cannot meet expectations

People are optimistic and often over-confident about how quickly and how well they can get things done. Match that with wanting to please a customer, and you are left over-promising and under-delivering. Save yourself and say No! to what you know you can not do. Be accountable and manage expectations. Whatever you do, do not say yes to get the deal signed with the full knowledge that delivery on time is highly unlikely. When that occurs, few will come back to say yes and do business since you will no longer be trusted.

So learn to say no by fully weighing up consequences and maybe this new year will turn out to be your best year yet!

Manager | Operations, Sales & Marketing Recruitment
+65 6818 3135
icheng@morganmckinley.com.sg