Which part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?

Working toward your Business Goal requires focus. If you want to go from good to great then very quickly you have to recognise that you must make tough choices. To be brilliant at the one or two things your customers really value you have to consciously say no to other things. Implementing strategy is as much about saying no to things as saying yes. Learning to say no, but in a positive empowering way, is very difficult.

If you set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal as your vision for the business, then you should have considered 3 Key questions.

  1. What are the one or two things you can be best in the world at?
  2. What are you really passionate about?
  3. What drives your economic engine?

You can read more about these questions by following this link.


This is all very well to think through in theory, and build up a business plan that focusses on becoming great. Making a change on the ground is a completely different matter. 90% of strategy is about actually implementing it!

In the real world lots of challenges will come along:

We can make lots of money if we……..

  • Yes, but this isn’t about making a quick buck. If you do lots of things that you, as an organisation, aren’t passionate about just to make money you will lose the commitment of your people.
  • Generally, every service we deliver will require some sort of investment, investing in one means not investing in another. There is nearly always an opportunity cost, you must avoid directing funds away from the investment that will be needed to become great.

But one of our business strengths is……

  • Great, your business has loads of strengths, but does the customer value them all equally? Are the strengths you think you have the same as the strengths the customer thinks you have?
  • In any case, you don’t necessarily focus on everything you are good at now, it’s about focussing on what you will need to be great at in the future to give the customer value

Oh, but this is a fantastic idea……

  • Passionate people will come up with lots of great ideas. Unfortunately not every great idea will make business sense. You need to become very good at filtering out the real gems, and learning to reject others without putting negativity in the business.
  • Theres also something I refer to as shiny object syndrome. New shiny objects often go dull very quickly. Opportunities will come along that weren’t anticipated. It’s easy to try and grab every opportunity while it’s new and interesting. Once the novelty wears off will this opportunity be one that you are passionate about going the extra mile for?

How do you make saying no easier?

  1. Ensuring there is a business case to support taking on all the initiatives in your business plan that justifies the investment in time and money you will make, and has properly evaluated the opportunity cost of doing this initiative as opposed to others.
  2. Communicating the vision for the business, so that people come to a common understanding of whats important and what isn’t.
  3. And the hardest of all, learning to manage business change. Even when people understand the vision and the direction there will be a reluctance to let go of the old, the familiar, the way we’ve always done things around here.

We will look at each of these more closely in future articles.

Free Strategy Tools

Subscribe to my newsletter and I'll send you a copy of my Microsoft Excel SWOT and PESTLE analysis tools

Thank you for subscribing. I've just sen't you an e-mail with a link to your download