Richard Maun – The Power Of No!

better business blog

Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


The Power Of No!

29 July 2018

I do like a bit of music you know. Whether playing new bands on my radio show, or singing in the car, or thrashing my ukulele. All good fun and great for the soul.

There’s a band called They Might Be Giants, who specialise in quirky off-beat songs. You might be of an age to remember their one UK hit, called Birdhouse in your Soul, back in the 80s.

What is less well known is that they’ve produced a couple of albums for children, which I think is a rather lovely and inclusive thing to do.

One album is simply called No!

The title track contains the lyric ‘no means no, a thousand times no’ and that’s perceptive.

Parents need to teach children boundaries and ‘no’, when used fairly, is a potent piece of parenting.

It’s the same for children too and being able to voice their ‘no’ is equally important and affirms their ability to think and make choices.

When we are dealing with a difficult business situation we can be too eager to work hard towards a ‘yes’ response, but the problem here is that we don’t know if the other party really means to say yes, or is just agreeing with us to get us to go away.

However, if we can frame questions to get a ‘no’ response then we can be confident we are getting genuine information.

For example…

Do you want to end this project? No.

Do you really want to leave this organisation? No.

Do you intend to keep having issues with this person? No.

All of these give us a clear backstop position that we can move forwards from. They allow the other person to feel powerful and in control and in doing so they are more likely to be receptive to new ideas and new solutions.

The word ‘no’ keeps us grounded and with our feet planted firmly on the floor we are more likely to feel safe.

Once we feel safe we can cautiously edge out from our psychological space and explore new possibilities.

This week we can all have fun framing questions to elicit a clear ‘no’ response. They are surprisingly useful!

Maybe …We Can All Be Giants too!

Next week: The Art Of Resilience


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact