This week we’re looking at the Sins of 2009 and how to redeem yourself in 2010.
Today’s topic is “No” Doesn’t Mean “No!”
2009 was a year when we heard “no” a lot at work. Request for new projects, new training, new budgets, were often greeted with a big fat, flat out “no.”
A colleague told me she got in trouble recently because something important fell through the cracks in the communications department. Her boss chewed her out. The executed wanted to know why she was ill prepared to address the situation. The employee replied, “I gave you a budget request for that in January and you personally told me there was no money an not to ask again until 2010.”
Upon reflection, the executive said, “for something this critical, we can find the money.”
In other word, “no” doesn’t really mean “no.” No simply means that you haven’t built a good enough business case in order to get your boss to say yes. No means that you have not been able to demonstrate that spending money in one area can increase profits, productivity and sales in another area. It means other people and other departments have done a better job of explaining why their spending needs deserve a higher priority.
Monday we talked about scarcity mentality. This example certain relates to that category. Many of have put major projects and training on hold because you were told no previously and you haven’t gone back to get your Yes. And the only way to get your yes is with a business case that is built around protecting and building the company’s profits.
Sometimes getting the yes requires being clever or creative.
Several of my clients who really want me to do their media training or help with their crisis communications plans never got the training they wanted in 2009, because their bosses said there was no money for travel? They heard “no” and stopped dead in their tracks. Really, you have training dollars but no dollars for travel? I’m pretty sure I can come up with a creative way to mitigate or eliminate the travel costs. Maybe the answer is that we do the program by Skype with web cameras. I can probably even find a creative way to squeeze another executive into the training class at no charge. That way, you can look like you struck a good deal. With creativity, I could make them look good… but they never asked. They heard “no” and thought it meant no.
If your sin in 2009 was taking “no” for an answer, your redemption in 2010 is to ask again until you get a yes. The path to yes is by building a business case.
One other way to get around “no” is by being opportunistic. We’ll look at that lesson on Wednesday.
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