A corporate culture of No is daunting. Do you operate in such a corporate culture? “No!” is a powerful word. It makes us defensive, from the time we are two years old to right now. What do you do when someone tells you No? Some of you reading this post will tell me: “I think to myself: Oh Yes I can!”
Do you work in a Culture of No? Some of you will be defeated by the situation, shoulders slumped, as you return to your cubicle. The design budget wasn’t approved, again. The sale didn’t close, again. Whatever the situation, the corporate culture of “No!” stops you in your tracks. Having a corporate culture of No wastes time and cuts into your ROI, as well.
Do you create a culture of “No” in your own workplace? Do you work with a lot of naysayers? “No” is a tremendously
controlling word. A corporate culture of No is applied generously to reinforce the status quo in many companies. When a decision needs to be made, naysayers seem to come out of the woodwork to veto your proposal. Your customers also may function in companies dominated by the culture of “No.”
Are you one of the naysayers I’m discussing in this post?
If your sales cycles are elongated due to naysayers on both sides of the business development table, it’s not a matter of trying to make an end-run to get decision makers to say Yes. I recommend taking the time to understand why folks say “No” and stuff gets stalled. When stuff gets bogged down, maintaining that status quo eats into your ROI. It could boil down to your – and your customers – having a culture of No.
What scenarios does a culture of No promote? “No” may indicate that people didn’t do their homework before presenting proposals. “No” may indicate that your design is disruptive and challenges the same-old upon which your engineering firm prides itself. “No” may mean that my department will always veto what your department brings to the table. “No” may mean that you brought the key decision maker into the equation at the end, when a signature was required, rather than at the beginning, when input and insight were needed.
Developing the ability to be proactive and anticipatory of a culture of “No” creates different business outcomes. You have different discovery conversations. Your design specifications are the result of robust, upfront discussion between you, your sales, sales engineering, and engineering folks, as well as your customers. Your homework takes a broader and deeper look at the situation. You perceive the solution, the strategy and the sale with a different perspective. Your colleagues and customers will notice the difference. Your dialogue will become collaborative rather than exclusive.
Collaboration Tool: Is there a culture of “NO” in your own organization? How is “NO” used in your customers’ organizations? What type of proactive and anticipatory research, collaborative discussion, and output need to go into your sales and engineering efforts?
When the need to say “No” is eliminated from the conversation, the value and ROI of outcomes are increased.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools.