"I have mediated long and hard on the importance of saying 'no'. There are different ways of saying it. I can think of it as one word, or 25 words or 500 words. The one-word 'No' is for the multitude of small decisions , impersonal in nature, which you continually bring to my desk. The 25-word 'No' is for disapproving a request or recommendation made by a valued subordinate who needs to know something of my reasons, so that he will not be deterred from making further suggestions. I save the 500-word 'No' for disapproval of those occasional embarrassing demands which reach me from Big-and-Little Potentates and Grand Pooh-bahs, whose fleeting positions of importance make it inadvisable for me to antagonize them by denying requests which my conscience tells me not to grant. In this way, I try to solve the wounds of those who depart without achieving their ends. But there is the interesting dividend which, surprisingly, accrues from this method-by forcing myself to present sound and acceptable reasons for each refusal, I often discover that, after all, the correct answer is 'Yes'."
Monday, March 21, 2011
Saying "No" - Maybe you meant to say "Yes"
The manner of expression, also, is important. Some officers have the happy faculty of refusing a request without causing resentment or unhappiness. For others, the opposite is true. Some cannot help being disagreeable about a refusal and thus cause resentment. Many years ago a staff officer observed that, while the Admiral disapproved many requests which reached him, nearly all officers who left his cabin were in good humor. The staff officer asked the Admiral what method he used. The Admiral replied,
The Naval Officer's Manual
July 1951Rear Admiral Harley Cope, USN - retired
"NO" - maybe it's another way to say "Yes".