A little bakery and café on the main street of my town has quickly become a favorite spot, because of its delicious and beautiful treats and its friendly staff. I’ve enjoyed its sweets, and on a recent Friday the business earned my respect too.
A man dashed in just before closing to order a decorated cake for his wife’s birthday the following day. The person working at the counter checked with the staff in back, confirming what she suspected: They were fully booked for the following day, but she could offer him some alternatives, such as cupcakes.
As a customer, I never want to hear “No.” As the editor of The Organized Executive, who has studied the habits of successful executives and organizations for the past few years, I admire that small business having the discipline to turn down a customer’s request.
Saying “No” is never easy, whether you are a frontline worker or a CEO. The most effective people, however, know that they can do only so much. They focus on what is most important and protect their resources (time, budget, etc.) so their priorities receive their full attention and best efforts.
If the bakery took too many orders, the cakes would not receive the attention to detail that makes them stand out and their customers rave. In the long run, that quality will do more to make the business thrive than trying to fill every order that comes in the door.
What do you say “No” to?