140618NYE-THE-NO-INITIATIVE-TKR1Last week I was having lunch with a client of mine and the topic came up about how hard it was for him to say No to a cross-functional peer.  Basically his peer had some ideas around how to move a very ugly project forward that had been stalled for some time.  My client thought these ideas were crazy, but instead of telling his peer that his solutions fell short (a nice way to tell someone their ideas suck), my client said the opposite.  He actually told his peer his ideas were great, and that they should review them with the rest of the team.  Have you seen this happen?  Maybe you were the one with the ideas?

Imagine the all the headache’s and wasted effort that are about to happen with this scenario. These two managers will meet more than once with their respective teams to discuss ideas that have no chance of ever becoming reality.  Saying YES in this situation has not only created a false sense of hope, but will also damage any level of trust between these two very talented people.  If my client would had told him the truth in the beginning about the ideas falling short, and the reasons why,  imagine the possibilities for a more positive outcome:

  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Positive Collaboration
  • Time not wasted

Telling the truth (saying No) might sting at first, but at least it sets the tone for a more positive outcome in the long run. The reality is my client would have done himself and his peer a huge favor by telling the truth.  Using your own experiences, what else might have changed the outcome by saying No?


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