Sometimes We Need to Hear NO

Most of us sales and business development types don’t like to hear the word, “no”. I get it.

But sometimes us management types NEED to hear, “no”.

Let me explain.

I recently asked our administrative assistant if she would help with a new project. She replied with an emphatic but polite, “no”.

Truth is that she was correct in saying “no”. The task really wasn’t part of her job description and her list of projects and tasks was already more than she had time to handle well.

Sometimes, our teams are afraid to say, “no”. I know over the years many people worked in our company that were afraid to say “no” to me. And as a result we probably have executed many off-track strategies; developed non-essential programs; and have way too many reports some of which serve no purpose. But not only are people sometimes afraid to say, “no”. They can also be hesitant to ever tell me even years later that we are continuing to do things we just shouldn’t be doing.

At first when she said, “no” I was momentarily frustrated. But within a few moments I praised her for saying, “no”.

If you are a manager be sure to give your teams permission to say, “no” and take time to understand the reason for the “no”.

Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know until we hear, “no”.

About The Author

Greg Muzzillo started Proforma as an industry distributor in 1978. The company grew quickly and in the early 1980s Proforma was recognized for three consecutive years on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in North America. In the late 1980’s Proforma introduced its membership program to empower distributors to retain their business ownership and independence, and to share in sales and marketing resources, purchasing power with industry suppliers, one back office including all billing, accounting, vendor payments, cash flow, computer systems and more. Today Proforma has over 600 Members and is the $500 Million leader in the Promotional Products and Print Industry. Proforma’s record breaking success includes having 18 of its Affiliates named to Inc. Magazine’s 2020 list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies and 193 Affiliates achieving its Million/Multi-Million Dollar Club with sales up to $38 million.