A great article by Diana Kander on Harvard Business Review on empowering your team to say no!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to please. In fact, we’re hardwired for it. But when we overcommit ourselves, we spend our time checking things off a list rather than actually creating value.
This problem has ramped up in recent years as likability has become a key determinant in landing jobs and other professional opportunities. But here’s the trouble with having a corporate culture built around likability: When people are afraid to turn down noncritical projects, good ideas get smothered. Without the ability to say “no” to low-level tasks in order to say “yes” to groundbreaking ones, people stop innovating.
Every company is in a value race. Not only do you have to create value for your customers, but you also have to do it before someone else does. Doing so requires the ability to say “yes” to truly great ideas — and, more importantly, to say “no” to all those good ideas that just aren’t good enough.
Here’s how to cultivate that mindset in your organization:
1. Establish a value assessment system.
2. Pay attention to warning signs.
3. Celebrate saying “no.”
4. Reward initiative.