Being able to say “no” effectively is one of the hallmarks of a good leader.
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Editor’s note: When running a startup, there are often people who care about the situation come to make suggestions. Smart leaders will know that these suggestions are not fully adopted, and some are even redundant. So, how do you learn to reasonably reject these goodwill that are not beneficial to the company for the time being? The author of this article gives the answer. The article was translated from Fast Company by Mike Novotny, originally titled Don’t bow to pressure. This is how to say “no” effectively.
Becoming an effective leader means different things to different people. Some people value honesty, others value responsibility, but more will point to creativity and wisdom.
For me, as a leader in a startup, the most important thing is to master elegance and reject ideas and proposed skills that will not benefit you in the long run.
In most business environments, especially for entrepreneurs, there is always pressure to say “yes”. This makes people feel safer and avoids conflicts, and it takes less time to stop and decide if something is right for your career.
But doing too much and too fast is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of entrepreneurship. It will prevent founders from discovering their potential and may get the company into chaos.
This is why I believe that the most important ability that every entrepreneur should have is the ability to say “no.”
Telling “no” to customers, employees, suppliers, colleagues and investors in business will not only make you a more efficient leader, but will also help your business survive.
For entrepreneurs, there is always pressure to do things
Entrepreneurs are naturally eager to succeed, and they want to do everything.
When you start a new company, you receive requests from all sides. Investors will be interested in large markets, customers will want you to provide additional features, there will be sales staff to urge you to complete the transaction without considering long-term costs, and you will let employees come to you to advise on new projects.At Medrio, even our lawyers advise us to work hard to meet the needs of our core markets.
When someone comes to you and asks you to do more, remember that you only have time and resources to do one thing! Really! Do it well!
As a company leader, be humble about your self and ability
You want to seize every opportunity – I understand.
But the truth is, you have to be humble about what you can really do. The good news is that if you can really be modest and stay focused – then you might be able to get something that makes your customers ecstatic.
At the beginning, you need to make things as simple as possible.
When I started my own data collection company, Medrio, I had to reject an offer that I was not ready to fulfill. We spent a month working with our lawyers to determine our company structure. I told them that we will develop software for collecting and organizing data for clinical trials, and when I don’t know, they are already thinking about how we collect and organize their legal case information – and we don’t even have Set up a company. Unlike my original plan, this is a different market with different needs. Even if my potential customers are sitting across from me, I have to say “no”.
Almost everyone said “yes” too early. So if you question which way to go, use “no”.
Because when you spread yourself thin, you will die under a thousand knives.
The good news is: If you start with a highly concentrated product, you can expand your company afterwards
Amazon is a good example of a company that doesn’t say “yes” very quickly.
Today, they are shops that sell everything, but most people don’t realize that Amazon only sold rare books at first. This focus allows them to provide services that others cannot provide, and they do well in this area. If you want something about 12th century Italian poetry, you will only find it on Amazon… or in Italy.
The key is: Amazon always knows that it will grow bigger. That’s why they didn’t name the company rarebooks.com. But in order to grow, they understand that they need to be very focused, so they don’t sell anything right away.
In the end, Amazon began to add more products, but they must first ensure that their customers have a wonderful experience. If they decided to promote the idea of selling everything from the beginning, they would fail, and Bezos would not be the richest person in world history.
Startups don’t have to be highly focused forever, but they must start in a way that lets customers fully understand the overall service or product, and they must deliver on their promises. in caseIt is a mistake to waste resources in order to serve a big market. Startups need to find a focus, just do what they can do now.
It’s better to reshape the conversation as “when” instead of saying “no”
The problem with saying “no” is that it undermines the confidence of people who are critical to your success, such as investors, board members, early employees, and customers.
At least you will annoy someone or make them feel stupid. Perhaps you are angered by someone who plays an indispensable role in the survival of your company.
I found a better way to say: “Yes, it sounds good. But when?”
By reorganizing your answers and replacing “no” with “when”, you keep your attention and let those key people get involved. In this way, you can reach an agreement on the real issue and move forward in a cooperative way. So Amazon didn’t say “No, we never sell auto parts.” They said, “Yes, once we do excellence in selling rare books, we sell auto parts, then all books, CDs, software. “The next step you know.”
Becoming an effective leader means mastering the ability to say “no” in many different situations. When you think of those people who are trying to do more than sustainable development, nine out of ten startups will fail. This is an important skill to master. This is one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make, but you can also avoid it with a word or a more slick sentence.
You will be able to focus your team on doing the most important things for the company. The end result will be a better on-line and bottom line, improved team productivity, and a thriving career.