Should we all be saying 'no' more often?
Educators have a reputation for generally saying 'yes' to doing things they are asked to carry out. The expectation is that if a peer or more senior member of staff asks or tells, the teacher does. It's not a healthy place to be. We need to say no more often.
To be honest, I hate saying no, most of the time. Yet, in my current job: of the 400 or so ideas I've seen in the last six months, only about 4% have resulted in a development of that idea.
Everyone else got a 'no'.
Most have had the heave-ho within minutes or days, some have had an instant yes, but there's a troublesome group in the middle, about 30% of ideas at a guess, that need looked at in more detail before being sure if they're worth taking forward. This group of ideas need at least a day's worth of thinking done by the company proposing the idea and a day or more of my time. It's only when we do the figures, work out the business case, see the approach action-by-action, explore the legal and compliance risks, that we realise the idea is a dodo. All that "for nothing".
What I wonder, sometimes, is whether it's worth just pushing back on anything that is not a clear 'yes' at the first sighting. Those "might work" ideas nearly always fail to get through the hurdle of being 'spec-ed' out, yet involve a disproportionate amount of thinking to get them to a point where we can ever know if they're likely to work.
However, there's always that grumble that maybe, just maybe, one might be saying 'no' to the best idea since sliced bread.
Seth Godin suggests we're indeed better off saying no more often to pick out the obvious gems the moment they appear:
You can say no with respect, you can say no promptly and you can say no with a lead to someone who might say yes. But just saying yes because you can't bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work.
Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities.
What do you think - are we right to say 'yes' to the "might work" ideas to see if we can discover a hidden gem, or are we better to concentrate only on those 4% we feel instantly happy with?
Pic: No Way Out