Chapter 5The Power of No

There is a weapon of choice that is radically more effective than any other device for creating time and energy; it is one simple word, no. This word is not used enough, and when people try to use it, they often translate into fluffy, subjective, and confusing words and phrases, such as perhaps, not right now, and let me think about it. The word no is much more effective, and it should be used on a daily basis. This is the area where I see 75 percent of leaders being far too thoughtful when they need to be more ruthless and say no.

I used to work with a vice president who would regularly just walk into product reviews and share his opinion with teams farther down in his organization. He did it because he loved to see the products in development at an early stage, but his comments were distracting and confusing to junior members of the team and would undermine the managers leading the functions. Once the vice president realized that his interference was not only unwelcome but also unproductive, he told his team that they had permission to tell him no when he asked to attend meetings or when he started diving down too deeply into the organization.

Many time management approaches tell you to focus on prioritization, organization, and delegation when the fastest way you can free up additional time is learn to say no more often to the intentionally right topics and people.

Take a look at the following five categories of focus and determine where you find ...

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