One of the awful side effects of the new new economy (you know, the one that’s tanking) is that the people in your organization are going to do exactly the wrong thing. They’re going to start saying “no”. They’re going to freeze up, hunker down, play it safe, cease to innovate and give up the single best chance your organization has to grow and to thrive.
This is your moment. The competition is either scared silly, out of business or paralyzed. Rents are down, asset fire sales are going on all over and there’s a huge opportunity waiting for someone who comes up with high value, highly remarkable innovations.
So that should be you.
But how? How to overcome the desire to say no to everything.
Here’s my simple riff:
Right now, “no” is all upside. “No” keeps the manager out of trouble, because “no” means no investment, no money, no risk, no failure. Might as well say no to every opportunity, no matter how wonderful, right?
Ads at 95% off? No, we can’t afford them.
Freelancers willing to work for free just to improve their portfolio? No, might present a legal hurdle.
A blog to spread the word for free? No, who will approve it?
Here’s what you do: make yourself the person in charge of saying no.
Anyone who wants to say yes to a project that fits within their purview is encourage to do just that. If you have the budget and the guts, say, “yes.” Say it loudly and immediately. Start. If it fails, kill it.
But, if you want to say “no”, you have to ask your boss for permission. And she has to ask you. “No”s get pushed all the way up the ladder. It’s a big deal to get a “no”, so you better be sure you want to pass this up. In fact, it might be easier to just say yes.