In this third article in my series of “Saying NO to prospective clients,” the content featured is the detailed response from JJ DiGeronimo, Strategic Manager for VMware, a cloud computing company. She was responding to the CompuKol version of my story introduced as a discussion topic in the LinkedIn group ForbesWoman:
I agree – it is difficult to say no especially now but I have created a process to make my “No” easier based on what is already in motion. I’ve learned to use my time wisely and to choose projects carefully. It is easy to create buisness sprawl but as Stephen Covey puts it:
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
So, when you are asked to lead, start, or participate in something –- or any other ask of your time -– give yourself permission to investigate the query, review your findings, and then decide.
* Get a handle on how much work is ahead of me and clearly understand what is expected of me. What are the expectations?
* What are my other commitments that could interfere?
* Ask good questions and get serious about getting answers that will alert me to how the project or event fits with my business goals.
* I give myself permission to say yes or no based on this kind of investigation.
This list is a starting point. You can add to it, based on other commitments and goals.
* Is funding for this initiative already approved? For what items? What is not funded?
* What does taking on this project mean to my everyday life? How will it impact other responsibilities and commitments?
* Should I take on the project as-is or is it better to break it up to get it going?
* Who are the decision makers, key contributors, and partners?
* Do I need to realign myself with other people, tools, or resources to be successful?
* Who is critical to the success of this project?
* What does success look like?
* How prepared do I need to be when I show up?
* Can I meet or exceed expectations?
* Do I need to adjust the success lens to represent something different than their current expectations? Can I see other possibilities that they may not see?
* What are the timelines and what will they mean in my everyday life?
* Is this doable based on the objectives and the timelines already established?
* Do I need to reprioritize other commitments to make this successful?
* What will suffer if I accept this project?
* Am I the best person for this task?
* What personal wins do I expect from this taking on this project ?
* Do I need more information before I start?
* What assumptions do I need to discuss?
* What needs to be documented and signed by both parties before we start?
It’s always a good idea to explore new opportunities as long as you’re diligent about asking these kind of detailed questions upfront. This will minimize your chance of over-committing your business and life; then once you have decided, you can use one of the techniques in the article to say “no, thank you”
[Read more from JJ for similar posts: www.purposefulwoman.com]
Stay tuned for more LinkedIn responses to “How to Say NO”; these will be from LinkedIn’s Q&A section.
PREVIOUS ARTICLES in series: