I want a lot: success in work, happiness in my personal life, go for a walk and read a book. In our schools and universities, they practically do not teach the setting of priorities.
Unfortunately, in our schools and universities, they practically do not teach the setting of priorities, they do not teach to determine for themselves what is the main thing and what is not very much. There is a compulsory program, from which it is believed that it is necessary to learn “everything”. Which of this “all” you need, what is very necessary, and which is so-so or not at all - usually no one thinks about it.
In our life, fortunately or unfortunately, there is no such “obligatory program”. I want a lot: success in work, and happiness in my personal life, and go to a restaurant with friends, and read your favorite book … But “everything, everything, everything” - you won't have time, you have to choose. Our whole life is a continuous choice. And it is better if this choice is made consciously, and not "as necessary."
The first thing to start with prioritization is clearing your life of imposed cases. At the level of a particular day, this in particular means - the ability to say "no" to things that do not correspond to your goals, values or principles.
Many Western books on time management touch upon this topic, but in Russia, as usual, there is "its own specificity." Our society is closer to the East than to the West. We value personal, informal relationships. Any refusal is perceived as a personal grievance.
This strategy, called "lying with force majeure" at one of the trainings, is dangerous because deception tends to open itself up, and relationships can be hopelessly ruined.
2. "Logical argumentation". “I would be glad to help your son get a job with us, I know him well, he is a smart boy, but in our company and in this position he will not be able to cope because of this and because of that.”
When I worked in the bank as an assistant to the chairman of the board, an acquaintance, the director of a charitable foundation, asked: "Gleb, you are bankers, you have a lot of money, help us hold such and such a conference." - “I would be glad to help, but the banker usually does not give money for charitable projects. I'm not even sure I can address this issue with him. So I'll try to talk, but I don't promise anything."
Two weeks later: "I managed to talk to the banker, as I expected, he did not give money." - "How?? You promised! We have already included in the budget …”The relationship is seriously damaged.
I think it would be more reasonable (and less detrimental to the relationship) to immediately firmly refuse - "the banker does not give money, and I will not even talk to him about it, do not be offended." If you get a chance - talk; if suddenly a miracle happens and money is given - to please the person who asked. But in no case give a shadow of hope, which in the imagination of a person quickly grew to a solid promise.
5. "The third way". “Ivan Petrovich, unfortunately I won't be able to attend the weekend time management training, but I understand the importance of this topic for the company, so I will ask Vasily to record everything on a dictaphone, listen to it, work through the literature and will definitely apply it.” “Unfortunately, I can't help your sister get a job in our company, but I will help you write a competent resume and tell you which companies it is better to send it to”. Sometimes this is the best solution, but it doesn't always work. A participant in an open seminar in Kiev, the head of the sales department, said: “Girlfriends are asking me to work, I see that they are objectively not suitable, they will not be able to work in sales. I am trying to offer them a third way, to help them find a suitable job for them. But they are too lazy to look for something, "we want to work for you," it entered their heads, and they cannot be switched over to anything else."
So, there are five typical failure paths. There are no “right” and “wrong” paths among them, each strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages. Usually, a person uses a maximum of one or two strategies. Try to expand your arsenal and apply some of the strategies that you have not tried before.
An example of reasonable rejection combining multiple strategies. A top manager of the Dnipropetrovsk company Dneprotechservice (the management company of the Dneprotyazhmash plant) at the seminar asked the question: “My mother often calls at work completely irrelevant, if I don’t pick up the phone, she worries, calls her subordinates. Many times I tried to convince her to call back later if the issue is not urgent. It’s impossible to convince her, and I, too, can’t help but pick up the phone: my mother is elderly, what if something serious has happened?” Together, we have found several approaches:
- "Emergency" mobile phone - only in case of emergency. You can pack it in a special box (remember the fire call buttons, to press which you need to break the glass). We answer calls from a landline phone only after the completion of the current case, for example, in an hourly 5-minute break.
- Calls are accepted by a subordinate (by the way, you need to be prepared for a "no" on his part!), If something is really urgent - informs the top manager.
- Finally, just "hard wean" (the wording of the questioner herself). “I’ll scare me that if I get jerked so often at work, I might not answer quickly when something really important happens. Moreover, this is not just intimidation, but it really is."
Please note: we are not discussing the option “not to answer my mother’s calls at all”. We talk about how to put this process in a reasonable direction, protecting your time and saying “no” where necessary, but without destroying the relationship and providing an opportunity to help a loved one in a truly critical situation.
The art of a hard no
Let's continue talking about how we refuse. What is interesting: in hundreds of trainings when acting out scenes, not a single participant has ever said a firm polite "no" without explaining the reasons.
Unfortunately, our refusal is simply not in culture, not in tradition. It is considered necessary to argue, make excuses, and cheat. The possibility of refusal without justification is not assumed at all.
In my opinion, this is our disadvantage, which needs to be dealt with. Americans have a good word - privacy, personal space. I also like their expression “it’s my life”, “this is my life” - in response to unnecessary questions or advice. It seems to me that a certain amount of healthy individualism in this approach is not a sin for us to borrow.
In Russia, whether by virtue of our emotionality or community collectivism, the awareness of individual freedom, in particular its right to refuse, is, in my opinion, poorly developed. I'm not talking about the need to give up mutual assistance and the ability to work in a team. But without the right to refuse, without the right of the individual to "privacy", we lose a lot. Without the spirit of freedom, the spirit of entrepreneurship, which has been exterminated for many decades in our country, we cannot be competitive on the world stage.
We cannot immediately remake the country, society, company. But at least in the circle of our influence, among people with whom we can discuss and develop the principles of our relationship, it is worth building up the culture of a firm “no”. Naturally, being ready and receiving "no" - without any emotions and displeasure.
Good leaders know the saying: "You can only rely on what resists." I will compare people who do not know how to refuse, with plasticine. Soft, comfortable, but … you can fail. You cannot rely.
If this plasticine is hardened, some discomfort may occur. Firm, uncomfortable. But on the other hand, a "yes" from a firm person will be a firm "yes". It will be possible to rely on it.
Mastering the art of saying “no” does not mean becoming a person from whom you can never get help, who loses friends and good acquaintances. Sometimes it’s helpful to meet your boss’s relatives and help a friend get a job. But if for some reason you do not want to do this, do not be afraid to politely but firmly refuse. Emphasizing at the same time that you are ready to help and meet halfway and your refusal in this particular situation does not mean refusal "in general in life."
Our business culture is emotional, tending to the East rather than the West. I remember an interesting example in the book by Mario Puzo "The Godfather" - Tom Hagen, the Godfather's assistant, comes to Johnny Fontaine and thinks: "Well done, he met him at the airport, he didn't send a driver - he respects." It would seem like a waste of time, but respect …
Such emotional and personal aspects in business are extremely important, because business is about trust. If there is trust, many issues are solved easier and more efficiently than with a dozen lawyers and a thick contract that can still be circumvented. Therefore, a tough, purely rational approach not only does not always work in our culture - it just is not always optimal. However, we usually know how to say an emotional "yes" - we need to learn and a firm, confident "no."
A typical case was at the training at Wimm-Bill-Dann. One of the participants in the discussion of the topic of a firm “no” says: “Right now I just received an SMS from my sister, who asks to meet her from the airport. She is traveling with her friend, so there are no safety problems; there is money, so there are no problems with a taxi. But for the umpteenth time she asks me to meet her, but I do not meet her, and these are constant grievances and conflicts."
I ask the question: “Have you tried to just talk to your sister and try to explain why you don’t want to meet her? That this does not mean disrespect or dislike on your part? " - "Have not tried! Indeed, we are not only afraid to say "no", but in general we are afraid to raise topics related to refusal in our conversation. I will write myself a "frog case" - this evening, be sure to discuss this issue with my sister!"