How do you handle constantly being told "NO" in the workplace? | Coursera Community
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How do you handle constantly being told "NO" in the workplace?

  • 6 September 2019
  • 2 replies

Lately, a coworker and I have been discussing the difficulty we have getting through "red tape" at work and having simple, problem-solving ideas constantly shut down without much discussion or negotiation. This has been an issue for us for several years.

Do you work in an environment where you consistently have ideas on how a task could be done quicker/easier/better but you are not sure who to take those ideas to? If you happen to take those ideas to your supervisor or manager or team leader, are you usually met with an immediate "No, we can't do that because blah blah blah..."? Within your company, does there seem to be a lack of collaboration between departments?

What is the best way to handle these issues?

2 replies

Userlevel 3
I would recommend putting an objective business case together, and pull together a list of the options (including do nothing) to give context. Hard facts and figures are hard to dismiss and it shows you have done your hard work. Also an idea without a plan is just a wish, so try and give as much detail as you can.

You might also want to look into doing some negotiation MOOC's as well. Week 6 of International Organizations Management by University of Geneva covers marketing plans, you may want to audit the course to get some ideas.
Userlevel 5
Badge +6

The situation that you describe is very discouraging.  However, have you considered that this is a blessing in disguise? a case full of learning of opportunities. 

First learning is from people who say NO and blah, blah, blah.  Listen to the blah, blah, blah and ask questions to gain an understanding from the perspective of the person who say NO.  Often, ones’ perspective is just that without realizing all the stakeholders perspectives that includes the reality that you might not be aware of or just BS.  Think about who will benefit the most from the ideas that you have and pitch to them.  Think about who will be negatively affected and consult them.

Second learning is from oneself about oneself.  

Third learning is from others who succeed in get some YES, and learn from them.

Fourth learning is about the organizational culture.  Is it one that encourages ideas, innovation, and change?  If it is not, and that you are the kind who enjoys new way of doing things (from second learning), then you can figure out what the proper course of action is.  Then go for it and continue on your learning journey.

Your future and your happiness is in your own hands.  Take care.