One of the great challenges in life is learning to say "no." I don’t mean when you’re 16 months old. That part of learning to say "no" comes easy to all of us. The "no" I mean comes much later. The "no" I’m talking about is the one where you’re choosing not to deviate from the path you’ve chosen.
One of the great challenges in the life of an organization is simply staying on course. So often that is about saying no to little deviations. Big deviations are easy to see. Most of us see them coming and can easily say no. It’s the little ones that are so tricky. Oddly, it’s the little ones that get us from the elegant simplicity of In-n-Out’s menu to the crazy complexity of McDonald’s. After all, what harm could offering an Asian salad made of orange-glazed chicken, snow peas, red peppers, mandarin oranges have on the effectiveness of the company?
I loved this response to the challenge of saying no by 37signal’s Jason Fried. "We say no to a lot of ideas — including most of our own ideas. But it’s
important to remember that no can be temporary. No now may be yes
later. Or it may be no forever. The trick is to figure out which camp a
certain no falls into and then respond appropriately."
How would you evaluate your own ability to say no?