“It is only by saying no that you can concentrate on what is really important.”
– Steve Jobs
At Anthem, there are always countless emails, projects in various stages, proposals from all over the country, miscellaneous requests and questions flying around. There are sometimes not enough hours in the week to get done what we all need too. A key part of being a successful leader is learning when to say yes, but also when to say “no”. Anyone and everyone that knows me, knows that “yes” is my default answer to an opportunity, request for help and many other things. However, the well timed “no” in order to prioritize is important. A part of my function is to not just prioritize my own time, but to help shape the priorities of those around me too.
As I have touched on in previous writings, moving towards the unknown is a great pathway to freedom, especially as an entrepreneur. Generally, this is what has set us apart from other sectors in the business world. We create our own path and thus create our own success. By having an open and honest line of communication between myself and my team, when we reach the decision to say “no”, it is not seen as negative, but rather it creates a vehicle of trust that opens the door to discussion.
There are many successful CEOs and founders who will say that your skill as a leader can be demonstrated by how well you learn to say no. Granted, I do not fully believe that, but I do believe that recognizing when productivity and quality is put on display, saying no when your workload is too full is often the best choice.
By Chris Sinclair
Founder, The Anthem Group