Discover the Many Pluses of "No"
 and "Negative Thinking"


When you say "No," you may actually be saying "Yes" to a whole series of other alternatives. If each party in a situation can remain open to other options, your "No" can actually lead to a better outcome than a quick "Yes." That's just one of many ways you can use "No" to pay off with positive business results.


1. Use "No" to Keep On Track

Donald E. Smith is an advocate for the "No" approach in business. He is the author of several books, including How to Cure Yourself of Positive Thinking and It's OK to Say NO. Forty of his articles appeared in the Wall Street Journal starting in the mid-70s.

 Why Successful Negotiations
Must Include "No"

"The word 'No' is not the end, it's the beginning of what change is going to mean," says Jim Camp, best-selling author and a global negotiation expert. In negotiations with employees, customers or suppliers, Camp says there are three key elements to remember when you use "No":

1. Be Sincere – Don't Antagonize

Express the "No" response in a sincere and kind way that doesn't anger others. Sincerity is always the best approach, says Camp. He recommends using a phrase such as, "I'm sorry, John, I just can't do that."

"Neuroscience tells us that the brain makes every single decision emotionally. If you antagonize someone, it's going to generate a reaction based in fear, and a person's ability to make a rationale decision will be extremely limited," says Camp. "In any negotiation, you want the other party to make good, sound decisions."

2. Make No Assumptions about Their Response

 "A major weakness in negotiations is to believe that you know what they are thinking," Camp says. "When you make assumptions, it can lead to compromises that are totally unnecessary."

As outlined in his book, Start with No, Camp's system of decision-based negotiation stresses no preconceived assumptions and no expectations – good or bad.

3. Recognize that One "No" is Not the End

In fact, the most productive negotiations have a whole series of "Nos" in them, according to Camp. "The more we say, 'No,' the more we move negotiations forward." 

For Camp, "No" is one more tool in his system that teaches how to understand emotions so you can focus on the activities and behavior you can and must control in successful negotiations.


"Saying 'Yes' instead of 'No' is the whole problem," according to Smith. He says that Peale's book, The Power of Positive Thinking, caused an entire generation of business people to grow up thinking that "Yes" is good, and "No" is bad. However, Smith says you've got to say "no" to all the barriers in order to get the job done. Those barriers include sales pitches for products you don't need, unnecessary meetings and bad ideas.

Good Things Happen When you Say "No"

"I am a pragmatist, and an advocate for getting the job done," Smith says. Often, according to Smith, "the greatest thing you can accomplish in a given day is to kill a bad idea." He believes that St. George's slaying of the dragon illustrates his philosophy: "Once you stand up and say 'No' to get rid of evil, good happens."

Smith says some managers and supervisors make the mistake of seeking agreement all the time. Sometimes employees have to disagree and say "No" to the boss before the right job gets done. Smith recommends listening to those with a contrary opinion. "Bad decisions come from surrounding yourself with 'yes' men," says Smith.

2. Recognize "No Moments" to Eliminate Stress

Women in business are among those easily stricken by the "Say Yes" syndrome. Authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay wrote the book, Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success. They say that women "end up saying yes to a lot of things we don't really want." The reason: Women in business often try to please everyone and avoid the wrath of others. 

Shipman and Kay admit that using the "No" word may well disappoint, anger and annoy others. "It will also mean you are happier, healthier and more straightforward," according to Shipman and Kay.

In the long run, they contend, that's a much better situation for women in business as well as others in their lives.

When a "No Moment" Arrives

To help women recognize a "No Moment," the authors recommend asking the question, "Does this request help me in any way?" Shipman and Kay also recommend an emotional litmus test involving a series of more personal questions. They say that women who know themselves will be able to recognize when an emotional reaction is simply a meaningless habit, or if it's a real warning bell signaling it's time to say, "No."

Womenomics also helps prepare its readers to say "No" without worrying about what others think when they hear it. Eventually, according to Shipman and Kay, women will come to believe that "no is not negative. It's as positive as it gets."

3. Use the Negative Approach to Generate Goals and Plans

When you or your employees are at a loss for ideas, the negative approach is a powerful way to break the logjam. Business coach Stephen Chandler recommends using the "No's" inside each of us to help convert problems into goals. Chandler is the author of 20 books, including Time Warrior and The Joy of Selling. More than thirty Fortune 500 companies have tapped his coaching skills.

For example, say that one of your teams is hard-pressed to develop goals and an action plan. Chandler recommends you use the power of negative thinking. Ask the team to write down the things they don't want to happen. Chandler equates this to asking them to put their foot down – to list the things to which they would say, "No way will I let that happen."

"No" Comes from the Soul

According to Chandler, "Saying 'No' is powerful, because it comes from the deepest part of the soul. Once we fully understand the power of those "Nos" inside of us, we can use them to motivate ourselves like never before."

Most anyone can easily list what he or she doesn't want. Once that's done, Chandler says you can get busy converting the negatives into positive goals. "You don't want to go bankrupt? Then let's get a prosperity plan going," cites Chandler as an example. When employees draw a line in the sand, they feel a primal form of motivation and the energy to stand up and achieve the opposite condition.


For detailed information, contact Brent Ross. Brent is a CPA and managing member of Ross Hughes & Associates, CPAs, PLLC. He is a Certified Profit Enhancement Consultant and a founding associate with The Intergo Leadership Institute. Brent works with clients wanting to (1) create a corporate culture where people want to excel and take personal responsibility for the success of their coworkers, customers and Company, (2) assisting clients with the development of business and strategic plans focused on giving responsible employees the tools, training and coaching needed to lead the Company to greater profitability and (3) respond quickly to changing environments.
Email | Phone 904-641-6288

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Copywrite 2013

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