Saying no with a greater yes in mind

Quotation-Steve-Jobs-say noIs it ever ok to say no to a good idea? As hard as it may be, the answer is yes.

Resources are limited. There are only 24 hours in a day, money doesn’t actually grow on trees, everyone has a life outside of work and, as we have talked about this month, leaders in higher education are facing shrinking financial support!

Despite knowing this reality many leaders have expressed how hard it is to say no, particularly to good ideas from their team. Making decisions and setting priorities leads them to “feel like the bad guy.” It is one of the toughest parts of being a leader.

A concept I learned long ago from Steven Covey and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People can help. Covey encourages leaders to identify the greater yes that is leading them to say no. Most times you are not saying that an idea is a bad idea but that energy and resources will add more value if you say yes to something else.

Taking the time to clearly describe what the “greater yes” is and how it will benefit students, stakeholders, or the team clarifies how you are setting priorities and making decisions. Focusing on what provides the most value and allowing yourself and your team members to say no, when there is a greater yes, can help keep work manageable and lead to higher performance.

What is your greater yes for your team or organization?




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