Leaders Say No. Will You?

Leaders Say No. Will You?

January 3, 2021 News


2020 Sucked!  It brought a lot of suffering on a lot of levels and to too many people. And the suffering will continue, especially in the weeks upon us, post holiday travel. 

2020 also awakened us. “Normal” wasn’t. And still isn’t. 

Truth is, it’s easier to change when things aren’t normal. Anyone who has been hospitalized, fired, dumped, outsourced, married (:- or otherwise jolted will begin to see that change is necessary, but also that change is possible and change can bring new life. But you gotta say, “no” to what isn’t here, isn’t working, and maybe wish you had.  That’s loss. That’s grief.  But then you can see, “well not everything was working.” Habits and lousy accommodations crept into life.  Leading always, always involves healthy adaptation and saying no in order to say yes.  As economist Paul Romer famously wrote in 2004, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” Crises lead us to adapt.  Crisis, or no crisis, a new year is also a terrible thing to waste. But it is a great time to put somethings in the waste! Say no to what’s outmoded, obsolete, tired, not cost-beneficial, boring, or just settling. Aim for growth, for value and values. 

  • Any good gardener knows you have to prune, so as to force nutrients into what’s healthy. 
  • Any good business manager knows you have to say no to things you aren’t great at to put energy and resources into what you are are good at. 
  • Any good artist knows that to create, you have to eliminate . . . distractions, downers, and work that wasn’t right or just wasn’t ready.

It’s not easy to say no.  But if in 2021, you want to add new growth, get rid of stuff that’s stunted, not producing, or just no damn fun. Make some room in your mind, your business, your garden, your closet, your relationships for some wonderful things to grow in the way they assuredly will, if you

Lead with your best self! 

About the author

Dan Mulhern: Dan Mulhern is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of leadership and organizational culture.