Learning to say 'no'

You might be surprised to find out that some people find it difficult to say 'no'. Perhaps they think it's rude, impolite or inflexible. It's not. Of course, it's always good to show a collaborative spirit, to be open to change, constructive criticism, and to do things that are in the best interest of the group (within reason). 

However, if something is clearly negative for the person involved, it's important to be able to have the difficult conversation; to say 'no'; or ask for what you really want (e.g. more money, time, responsibility). With that in mind, you have to find your own comfortable way of saying it but here are some examples:

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Radical Transparency

What if you knew exactly how you were doing at work? What if your goals, bonuses, performance reviews, successes and failures were all available not only to you but to everyone in your company? How would you feel? Nervous right? Scared or anxious?

This is what happens at the worlds top hedge fund - Brightwater, run by Ray Dalio, and he attributes his success to the system.

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The One-Page Strategy

“There’s nowhere to go” is a common complaint from employees working for small or medium companies. It signifies a drop in motivation as even though they enjoy the environment and the work if they feel there are no opportunities for progression, they start to look elsewhere. This is further compounded by their managers agreeing with them about the state of the organisation. Here’s a strategy that may help.

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Interviews: outdated and ineffective

Did you prepare for the interview? Do you know what questions they are going to ask? Do you know what they want you to say? With a bit of preparation, it's not difficult to prepare perfect answers to typical interview questions. It's also easy to prepare for trickier questions regardless of the topic - it's a process and can be learned. Of course, the problem with all of this is that it is an act on behalf of both parties. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to continue hiring employees in this manner or assume it's an effective way of getting the best person for the role.

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Personal MBA - 25 book recommendations

What if you wanted to study more about leadership, marketing, sales and strategy? What if you wanted to do an MBA but didn't have the time, money or opportunity? Below are 25 handpicked books that I think are an excellent crash course in business. No, they don't cover every area, in particular finance has been omitted. But they do teach a lot of valuable lessons and have been of huge value to me personally.

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Brain injuries and CVs

"That was my car and that's where I was sitting", he said as he pointed to a photo showing a massive hole in the front of a three-door hatchback where the driver's seat should be. 8 years later and still undergoing surgery, he has been through a lot. I was surprised by how frank this young man was and impressed with his light-hearted way of talking about the moment his life changed forever. Any problem I had seemed totally trivial in comparison.

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A better way to ask for a raise

‘Can I have more money?' is one way to start the conversation, although not a very elegant one. Perhaps a more structured conversation would work better? 

 

In my experience, employers are often open to giving their staff more money or a promotion, but not without good reason. For example, asking for a salary raise for doing the same work probably won’t yield you much success, however, offering to help the organisation 1. Solve a significant problem or 2. Make more money, will provide you with much more leverage. Also, keep in mind that the more you necessary you are to the business, the more inclined they will be to keep you happy at work compared to if you can be replaced easily by someone else who has similar skills.

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Robots are coming for your job

It’s better you hear it now than in ten years, or realistically speaking - five years. Many people have already been forced out of a job because they’re too expensive to employ and slower than a machine. It’s happening now more than ever but this isn’t a new phenomenon. Since the 70’s robots have been widespread, with the earliest known standardised industrial robot created in 1937. Nowadays robots are becoming household items, helping with everything from cleaning, lighting and heating to monitoring the garage door and making coffee. The changes are gradual and sometimes unnoticeable, but very real. 

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” Warren G. Bennis, University of Southern California, Professor of Business Administration

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4 Transferable skills of top CEOs

If you get a chance, there's a top podcast by the Harvard Business Review on the 4 Behaviours of Top-Performing CEOs. You would be forgiven for thinking that CEOs are the most well educated, business-savvy, mistake-free people in the corporate world, but you'd be wrong.

[There's] almost an equal amount of CEOs who graduated from Ivy League school undergraduate (degrees) as there were who didn't actually graduate from college at all.

 - Elena Botelho, co-author of the article “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart”.

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