AGL 072: The Power of “Saying No”

I heard a story on the Accidental Creative Podcast once about pruning grapes in a vineyard.  Todd said that many times healthy vines that are bearing good fruit need to be pruned off.  The reason is that the vine cannot grow new, more productive branches until some of the other branches are pruned.  So cutting out good and fruit-bearing branches may be necessary in order for the vine to increase in capacity overall.  This holds with us at work and in life.  Sometimes we have to shutdown old dreams or projects, or stop doing old tasks that no longer provide significant value in order to free up time for something greater.

Good is the enemy of Great. – Jim Collins

Saying “no” at work can be one of the most freeing words you can say. As leaders or individual contributors we must set boundaries with our employees and our bosses. Several years ago, while at a previous employer, I was struggling to get great work done due to having too many regularly scheduled meetings in my life. I heard a podcast about saying no to things that you don’t get much value from. Recurring meetings was it for me. In most of the recurring meetings I was in, (usually more than 12 per week) were boring and un-informative for me.  I was occasionally asked to give a report or update in them, but for the most part, my contribution could have been made in an email.  I decided to prune those meetings from my life.  I sent a friendly email to all of those meeting organizers, stating the following:

“I currently have a lot of important things on my plate.  I am unable to attend this _____ meeting for the foreseeable future. Instead, I can send an update to you if needed that you can share with the team in place for me.  If that doesn’t work and you feel I am irreplaceable at this meeting please let me know and I will work to move things around so that I can continue to attend.” 

This email removed 10 1-hour, weekly meetings from my schedule.  And of those 10, only 2 requested that I send email updates.  Two meeting organizers asked that I continue to attend (those were from VPs while I was only a manager, so I continued to attend those meetings).  Pruning things from my scheduled freed up 10 hours per week that I could devote to more important projects at work and helped me rollout numerous mobile and web projects that led to significant impact to the companies bottom line.  Sometimes really good things in our life and and work can steal time away from great things.  What good things are you holding on to that you should let go?  What great things are right around the corner that you don’t have time for now?  I want to challenge you this week to find something good that you’re doing, that may have lost some of its value, and let it go to make room for something great to begin to grow.


 

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October 19, 2018
Saying No

AGL 072: The Power of “Saying No”

I heard a story on the Accidental Creative Podcast once about pruning grapes in a vineyard.  Todd said that many times healthy vines that are bearing good fruit need to be pruned off.  The reason is that the vine cannot grow new, more productive branches until some of the other branches are pruned.  So cutting out good and fruit-bearing branches may be necessary in order for the vine to increase in capacity overall.  This holds with us at work and in life.  Sometimes we have to shutdown old dreams or projects, or stop doing old tasks that no longer provide […]
October 15, 2018
francesca-gino

AGL 071: Rebel Talent with Francesca Gino

About Francesca Francesca Gino is an award-winning researcher and the Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. She is also affiliated with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Mind, Brain, Behavior Initiative at Harvard, and the Behavioral Insight Group at Harvard Kennedy School. Her consulting and speaking clients include Bacardi, Akamai, Disney, Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, Novartis, P&G, and the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy. She has been honored as one of the world’s Top 40 Business Professors under 40 by Poets & Quants and one of the world’s 50 most influential management […]
October 8, 2018
Patricia Hatter

AGL 070: Patricia Hatter

About Patty Patty Hatter is a multiple award-winning technology, business and operations leader who drives digital transformation and growth for global companies. Patty currently advises early stage technology companies, focused on key technologies such as cybersecurity, cloud infrastructure, and blockchain-enabled enterprise applications. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX). Prior to this, Patty was SVP of the McAfee Services organization, where she drove 50% growth. Previous to her role at McAfee Services, she served as general manager and CIO for Intel Security as well as CIO and SVP of Operations for McAfee. There she orchestrated […]
October 4, 2018
Leading Through Failure

AGL 069: Leading Through Failures

No matter how good you are, at some point in time, you will fail.  It’s inevitable. Failure is not a problem, its promise.  How we respond to failure is crucial to how we is the most important part of failing.  It’s not the failure that stops us, it’s the inability to learn and move forward that stops us. I’ve failed at many projects, on tests in school, at sports and about in every area of my life.  We all fail and we should not fear failure.  I once had a boss that made my team fear failure.  He threatened to […]
October 1, 2018
Michelle Dennedy

AGL 068: Michelle Dennedy – VP and Chief Privacy Officer at Cisco

Today on the show I’m honored to have Michelle Dennedy, VP and Chief Privacy Officer at Cisco Systems.   About Michelle Dennedy Michelle Finneran Dennedy is Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer at Cisco, where she works to raise awareness and create tools that promote privacy, quality, respect, trust, and asset-level possibilities for data. She is a unique visionary in the field of privacy and the IT industry, bringing together multifaceted approaches that provide sincere privacy protections and drive business value. Throughout her career, Dennedy has led security and privacy initiatives, ranging from regulatory compliance, privacy engineering, advocacy and education […]
September 28, 2018
Tom Rath Book Review

AGL 067: Lessons Learned from Tom Rath’s Books

Last week I was honored to have Tom Rath on the show to talk about some of his books and how they impact leaders. Today I want talk about some of the take aways that I had from Tom’s books and how they have impacted my life. Eat Move Sleep Walking Meetings 10,000 steps Standing no sugar in coffee cut out fruit juices cut down on bread SLEEP!!!! Are You Fully Charged? Work in bursts Pomadora Technique Search for meaning, not happiness Strengths Finders 2.0 Focus on your strengths But don’t completely forget your weaknesses How Full is Your Bucket […]