Friday, October 4, 2013

Just Say "No"

It's tough to learn from a prodigy.  Uniquely gifted people are impossible to emulate.  There's only one Mozart, only one John Lennon and only one Steve Jobs.  

I've tried hard to learn from Jobs, and it's not an easy thing to do. On the other hand, Jobs may be able to teach us ordinary people something about focus - both what it is and what it's not: 
"People think focus means saying "yes" to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying "no" to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying "no" to 1,000 things."
The problem is, people don't like to hear "no" -- especially employees and customers.  Jobs wasn't particularly hampered by a need to be liked.  That appeared to be the furthest thing from his mind.  Perhaps there's a way to both be liked and to say "no" to good ideas that aren't the one big thing.  That's for you to work out.  For the good of the enterprise, you may have to subordinate your need to be liked, and say "no" more often than you'd like.  

As member Adam Landrum taught us at a CEBI Summit, "Saying "no" to one thing is saying "yes" to something else."   Jobs goes further - he says it's about saying "no" to 1,000 things so you can say "yes" to the one big thing.   

Have you said "no" to something lately that turned out to be a really good choice?  Click "Comments" below and share that experience with others. 

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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