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Learning to Say Yes to Saying No

Nearly all leaders have a hard time learning when to say no. With so many people in an organization making demands for their projects to take priority, it’s easy to be pressured into saying “yes” prematurely – or worse, hedging and saying “maybe” to avoid conflict. But learning that it’s ok to objectively prioritize can prevent unnecessary interdepartmental conflict. Saying no when it’s necessary is akin to being honest. It creates realistic expectations and potentially identifies areas needing improvement or attention.

The problem is that many leaders haven’t developed clearly defined vectors to prioritize among multiple demands. As a result, they overpromise and underdeliver. This sets off a chain reaction of delays and setbacks that leaves everyone frustrated and subordinates feeling betrayed. 

Defining vectors that can help you make the right call on a project helps to build a strong foundation for making better decisions

A better strategy is to adopt a process of objective prioritization while being candid and transparent in responding to demands. Defining vectors that can help you make the right call on a project helps to build a strong foundation for making better decisions.  It only makes sense to take factors like current workload and backlog, along with help on hand, into consideration when deciding whether to agree to or push back on a timeline or process. The process of assessing these projects can also identify areas that merit additional attention or need drastic improvements in the delivery process.

A Kanban board simplifies the process of prioritizing. 

It’s a visual presentation of all incoming demands, along with an indication of how long each task typically requires to complete. Insights gained from a Kanban board can eliminate multitasking and overcapacity while assuring that demands from multiple sources are fulfilled in the most efficient way possible. A Kanban board also helps to avoid overburdening either the upstream or downstream delivery team.

This information helps managers set realistic expectations to internal customers for when their requests will be fulfilled. A Kanban board also allows internal clients to see for themselves where their demands fall in the delivery process. By adopting the Kanban Method, managers have the input they need to prioritize demands fairly and efficiently, along with the confidence to say no – or at least not now – when necessary. 

Are you struggling to juggle multiple demands from all directions to carry out your company’s deliverables? Contact IntelliPivot to learn how you can say yes to more efficient deliveries by knowing when to say no.

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