The privilege of ‘no’.

I’m reading a book at the moment about focusing on ‘your one thing’ (review forthcoming in separate post). Your one thing = Your mission statement, your purpose in life, your overarching goal.

It posits that to achieve extraordinary results we must bring laser focus to bear on the thing that we want to achieve most. And to achieve that one thing we must be able to say ‘no’ to anything that is a distraction from the pursuit of it.

It got me thinking about the privilege that is implied in ‘no’.

Being able to say ‘no’ implies a degree of seniority, autonomy, psychological safety or wealth (or perhaps a combination of one or more of those things).

It might be easy to create conditions where people can’t say ‘no’, but perhaps the work where people can draw upon their own discretion is the work that is best suited for humans and puts people on the path to fulfilment and doing things of increased value.

What does a workplace where people can say ‘no’ look and feel like? How does it find compromise and agreement? What does leadership look like? How does it treat the people who work there?

I keep coming back to them time and time again, but this all feels bit like a co-operative operating model to me. I’m sure there’s others that I’m not thinking of.

Food for thought.


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