Learn to say no

by David Harris on August 19, 2011

Communication offices have a tendency to say yes to everything asked of them. I’m yet to meet an effective communications office staff that isn’t trying to do more than it can comfortably cope with.

A very common pattern in top communications offices is that they fall out of strategic mode by proving they are so good at what they do. Their tactical execution is brilliant so people want to use them a resource even more. But if they don’t watch out, a load of work sneaks up to drown out strategic priorities.

These same offices could be doing more by doing less. Saying no is the only way you can ever be strategic. You need to make decisions about how you use your time and resources. If you always say yes, those decisions are being made by other people and generally won’t be strategic.

I’ve been on more than one review panel where we advised a communications office to say no more often so that they can return to what they choose to do for the greatest benefit of their institution, and also preserve their sanity while they’re at it.

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