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The Alternative Board Blog

The Courage of "No"

May. 17, 2013 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide

When Doing the Hard Thing is Absolutely 100% the Right Thing

If you can't say "no," get intimate with failure.

If you can't hear "no," get used to stagnation or, worse yet, movement in the entirely wrong direction.

I am constantly struck by the lack of courage exhibited by those who feel they must always lip-serve an emphatic "Yes!" while everything in their innards is screaming the opposite. Equally disconcerting are those who refuse to receive anything negative or even neutral; instead they prefer a thumbs-up at any cost to be sent on their merry yet errant way.

Today's most successful executives know the value of disagreeing with others.  At first blush, people often view disagreement as a major conflict or source of discomfort to be avoided.  I contest that view with the stance that you can't afford to not disagree.

 Saying NO takes a healthy dose of courage.  Recognize and reward it.

Conversely, you can't afford to constantly agree if you want to be a credible force in your profession.  If you wish to be taken seriously as an influencer in your field, why on earth would you tickle ears and egos with tons of "yes" when what everyone needs to hear is a tactful yet emphatic "no?"

Want additional insight? Download Hiring a Business Coach for Your Small Business now 

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Why is "no" so needed?

  • When all you hear is "Yes," you have no way to prepare for hearing "No."
  • You have no real idea of perspectives other than your own, and will suffer as a result (as will your business in any number of areas).
  • You have no way of avoiding ignorance on at least a few topics vital to your success, not just as a business owner, but also as a human being.
  • You have no way of hearing a healthy "no" above a din of toxic "yes" all around you.

Lorenz Lammens of Clear Goal Media posted a powerful graphic of Winston Churchill's poignant quotes about why we can't make it without criticism.  Even closer to the mark (of this post, at least) is a thought from businessman/author W. Clement Stone:

"Have the courage to say no.  Have the courage to face the truth.  Do the right thing because it is right.  These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."

Do you agree with this mentality - yes or no? (Take your time.)

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

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Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

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