<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

CEOs Save Time by Learning to Say “No”

Jul. 2, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide

  Learn to Say No!

 

 How many times in a day do people approach you or your gatekeeper with a request, suggestion or some other time-consuming appeal? Like many other business leaders, your first inclination may be to say, “OK,” or “Yes, I’ll look into that.” You want to help others or find ways to move a process along with your input.

But the reality is, by rarely or never saying, “No,” you waste a significant amount of your precious (and finite) time. When you “prioritize [another] person’s needs over your own,” says psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, “you’ll find your productivity will suffer and resentment will mount.”

Saying “no” comes naturally to some, but if it’s an issue that continues to interrupt your daily work pattern—and negatively impacts your company’s efficiency—here are tips to get more comfortable with this answer.

Be polite, but firm. Rather than agreeing to a request, let the other person know what they’re asking for just isn’t possible at this (or, maybe, any other) time.

Don’t make excuses or give the impression you’ll get to it “soon.” Instead, politely but firmly say, “I’m sorry, but my schedule is full and I can’t assist you with this request.” If possible, direct them to someone else who may be able to help.

Provide context for your answer. People who ask for your assistance may think twice the next time if you provide a fuller explanation as to why “no” is now your default answer.

Business leader Kathy Bloomgarden advises CEOs to “take a step back and provide your rationale in the context of the company’s goals and priorities” as well as its relation to the market in general. “Leverage each discussion as an opportunity to strengthen the vision of where the whole team is going” and what’s needed to get there.

Say “no” to ideas that don’t fit your company’s strategic plan. People inside and beyond your company walls are likely bombarding you all the time with “great” ideas about how to improve business and acquire new customers.

Some ideas may be worth pursuing—in which case, the best response is to direct the person towards someone else in the company who’s better positioned to explore the idea further. At the same time, if you foresee that pursuing that idea might take time and resources your business can’t afford, it’s best to say no at the outset (with a brief explanation as to why). It all comes down to whether the next great idea genuinely fits within the parameters of where you see the business going in the coming months and years.

Be prepared to say “no” to a client. Of course, a client is the last person to whom you want to use “no” as an answer. But there may come a time when what they want from your company simply doesn’t fit with your existing resources or strategic objectives. Or they may ask for some sort of “exclusive arrangement” by which you can’t reach out to other prospective clients.

In such cases, it’s usually best to turn down the request in a forthright, respectful manner. Alternatively, notes financial adviser Andrew Schrage, you can “restate the problem” and “focus on the things you are able to do, rather than the ones you aren’t.” This way, it’s possible to say “no” to the client and yet retain their loyalty and gratitude.

Saying “no” doesn’t have to entail negative or unpleasant associations. It can pave the way towards greater efficiency (for the CEO) and motivation to take action on their own (on the part of senior executives and employees). It reinforces the idea that the CEO or business leader must prioritize their time in pursuit of strategic growth.

Want more great ideas on how to manage your time? Gain instant access to a video explaining “The 15 Golden Rules of Time Management.”

 

 

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

Related posts

Automate Small Tasks and Stay Focused on the Big Picture
May. 23, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
A sizable portion of business operations involves tasks that are repetitive, annoying to those charged with handling them, and fairly easy to automate. In case you’re wondering which tasks fall into...
How Business Visualization Tools Help You Persuade and Communicate
May. 16, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
There are two fundamental truths about information and human nature that CEOs and business owners should probably come to grips with: We are drowning in data. Humans process information through...
How A Positive Company Culture Is Built By Aligning Employees
Apr. 25, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
What does company culture mean? Every organization comes with a unique culture, a set of agreed-upon values that govern the way the company does business. Some cultures grow with the company and...
When You're the HR Department for Your Business
Apr. 23, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
Human Resources (HR) is an area that seems to cause most business owners the highest amount of stress. Unfortunately, without an HR Department, HR issues become the responsibility of you, the...
How to set up virtual office for a small business
Apr. 18, 2019 | Posted by Gary Hoffman
Virtual Office Space Dos and Don'ts You’re ready to give your business an impressive corporate presence, but you’re not willing to plunk down millions of dollars for the office space, the permanent...
How to Appreciate (And Retain) Your Employees
Apr. 16, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Any business that doesn’t place a high priority on employee appreciation is likely one that sees a fair degree of employee turnover. Back in the day, simply paying a worker on time—and perhaps...
Can You Have a Fun Workplace that's also Productive?
Apr. 11, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Somewhere along the line, the idea of a serious, no-fun-zone workplace became institutionalized among American businesses. For a long time, that meant no intersection between “work” and “fun.”...
What are the Worst Mistakes You Can Make as a Leader?
Apr. 4, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
It takes a lot of smarts, experience, vision, intuition and skill to be an effective CEO or business owner. But all leaders must be mindful that their ability to make mistakes—just like everyone...
How Stronger Vendor Relationships Can Spur Growth
Apr. 2, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Vendors may not seem like a high-priority constituency to most CEOs and business owners, but in fact, a strong business-vendor relationship can significantly boost growth. Unfortunately, many people...
Are You Ready For Your Exit? Creating Your Exit Strategy
Mar. 26, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
As a business owner, at some point, you will start thinking about what’s next; very often this thinking results in creating an exit strategy (or exit plan). Many business owners that I work with...