When to say yes or no

Having interviewed highly successful people over the years, I have found one of the real challenges they face is when to say “yes” or “no.”

People in authority make numerous decisions every day — decisions that affect the success of their people and organizations. The simple task of “green lighting” a project or new idea can have tremendous ramifications. Although making tough decisions comes with being successful, it can also be a heavy burden.

Here are some tips for when to say yes or no:


  • When proper research is done
  • When your gut feeling is in line with thoughtful contemplation
  • When your parents say “no” and your children say “yes”
  • When the experts say “no”
  • When it fits with your strategy
  • When you are willing to work 24/7 to be successful
  • When you are not afraid to fail
  • When people won’t get hurt
  • When it is prudent
  • When it makes you feel good in the long run
  • When it supports your purpose, vision and values
  • When it is a win/win


  • When you know it’s the wrong thing to do
  • When it is a snap decision
  • When your emotions are out of control
  • When there is no financial justification
  • When greed takes over
  • When it only benefits you
  • When it is not fair
  • When it keeps you up at night
  • When there isn’t clear upside
  • When it is lose/win or win/lose