229 - How To Get Around A No - John Laurito

Welcome to 2022! In this first episode of the year, host John Laurito quickly shares a life update that answers why he’s been quiet from the podcast towards the end of 2021.

Now that he’s getting back on track, he wanted to talk about how you have to do what you need to do to develop an option as a leader instead of just giving a flat-out “no.” There are situations when a “no” is warranted, but there is always another solution more often than not. You can ask help from your team to come up with more options—allowing your team member to fly the plane, so to speak. You’d be surprised at what your team can come up with, and it’s pretty much better than just a “no.”

[0:00] Intro

[0:29] Quick life (and health) update from John

[3:40] Here’s the scoop

[7:27] When someone is power-tripping

[9:49] My message is…

[12:53] Think about why someone says “no”

[14:25] Bottomline

[17:05] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! 

John All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related relates to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host today and tomorrow, but not over the last couple of weeks. I know, I know what you’re thinking. What the hell, where did you go? Well, I missed all of you. Believe me, I missed producing these podcasts. The fact of the matter is I was it with COVID. Yuck. Horrible, bad time. Holiday time. It was like the week of Christmas, and I don’t know how I got it and where it came from. I’m fully vaccinated and I still got it. So it is what it is. 

John But I will say, for those of you who are out there who have not gotten it, what I got was actually really mild for what it’s worth. It did not keep me necessarily podcast ready and voiced strong. But aside from that, I mean, you know, all things considered, it was relatively mild compared to all the other cases or a lot of the other cases I’ve heard of. So if you have it or got it or are dealing with it right now, I wish you the best, if you have not, do your best to stay safe and healthy and keep your family healthy. But hence that was the reason for my absence. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever used the word hence on this show. Hence that was my absence, my alibi, or reason for being absent over the last few weeks, a couple of weeks at least. 

John It is so great to be back. I did miss all of you big time. I miss doing these podcasts. I greatly appreciate your feedback and all the kinds of stuff you’ve been doing. I’ve had people ask What’s going on? How come I haven’t seen any new episodes? I appreciate that. That tells me that you’re listening and you look forward to these. And as much as I look forward to giving them and producing them, and again, a lot of my best content comes from you, so keep the ideas coming. In fact, almost I will say most of my ideas and content comes from you, so please keep sharing your thoughts and asking questions. Refer guests if you know great people, who would be great guests for the show. It was a great 2021. The show itself grew significantly, and to be honest with you, I can’t necessarily say a rhyme or reason other than just the audience grew and people shared it and sent it to other people and got new listeners. 

John So we’ve grown significantly over this last 12 month period of time. And I think 2022 is even going to be better. I know it will be. So in any event, I wanted to start with a story and lead it into today’s episode. So while during the holidays I got out, got to play golf, by the way, in North Carolina, it was 70 degrees from Christmas to New Year. I was in shorts. It was unbelievable. Now I will say a little disclaimer. Right now, it’s January 3rd Monday and it snowed here. There was almost a 50-degree drop or 40-degree drop in temperature. Tonight, it’s supposed to be in the 20s. So yeah, North Carolina is still getting some cold weather and snow, just a few flurries. Now it’s bright and sunny out. It looks like it’s 70 degrees as I’m walking outside my window. But wow, it was amazing being in shorts during the holidays and T-shirts shirts, it was just incredible. One of many reasons I’ve moved down here. 

John So in any event, here’s the scoop. So I got a chance to golf a few times over this break, which is great. I golfed with my dad, my brother-in-law, and my son Nick. We had a blast. So one of the times we went to golf, we booked a tee time and it was a course that was I hadn’t played on for a long time. I played on it once and it was, you know, it’s maybe a half an hour away. So it wasn’t one of our regular courses that we necessarily go to. I golf a lot, as you know, my dad and my son and my brother-in-law. And so we went to this course, we got a tee time. It was not that easy to get a tee time because it was right in the middle of the holiday week and we get out there now. One of the things that have changed, we booked a foursome. For those of you that know golf, obviously they, you know, put the foursomes together. Maybe every six or seven minutes they start a foursome. I mean, they run it like a pretty tight ship. 

John So I get it. You know, that’s you got a busy crowd, you got to manage it. Well, this was a course that was really not a very high level course, and it was kind of a, you know, lower level but fun type, of course. And usually in those types of courses, you can get away with sometimes getting five people out now. We did not plan this, but we asked my nephew Gavin kind of last-minute if he’d have an interest in joining. He said yes and was like, Awesome, great. So needless to say, because we’ve done it successfully at some other courses figured, OK, we’ll just go there. I’m sure they can work us in some way. Well? I get up to pay the Greens fees are going to the pro shop and I say, Hey, listen, we actually have five. Is it OK if we just have five, you know, out in our foursome? And he said, No, can’t do that now. Not at all. And I said, OK, I got it. Well, I guess then we’ll split up into a three and a two. And he said, Nope, can’t do that either. I said, Really? Why? So we’re just we’re too crowded. We can’t split. Yeah. I said, really? I said, Well, how about if we go out as a five sum and we’ll just have four people playing? 

John We’ll just have one of the guys, you know, two guys in our, you know, swap one hole to another and just literally so we won’t affect the speed of play at all. We’ll just have four guys golfing at any one time. And he said, Nope, can’t do that. I said, Well, why? What’s the what? I mean, we’re not affecting the pace of play or anything like that. He said, Well, you know, the other golfers are going to get angry if they see that. I said, Really? I said so. I said we’ve driven half an hour here. I said We’re well, we’re on time. We’re ready to go. I said, Yes, I know we are five, but you’re telling me that we can’t go. We basically have to give up our foursome because we’re not going to send one guy home. We’re literally not going to golf. 

John So you’re telling me that’s the only option. And his answer was, Yeah, that’s all we can do. And I’m like, Are you kidding me, really? I see you’re not going to try. I’m thinking of myself, OK, this guy’s not even going to try to help us resolve this issue. And it’s not that hard. I mean, in reality, I’ve been golfing for, you know, decades and I’ve really never run into an issue like this. And I know some of you avid golfers out there, like, hey, loosened rules are rules. You got foursomes. I get it, but at least make an effort to try and resolve the situation. And so the other guy, another guy comes over who obviously at this point, based on how he resolves it, I realized after the fact that this was the manager. This other guy was just, I don’t know what it was, but I explained the situation to the guy. I barely got the sentence out and he says, OK, no problem. We’ll just put you guys as a three and a two. I’m like, OK, great. Thank you very much. 

John And I just the look on this other guy’s face was almost anger the of the first guy, because, you know, simply because he lost his power and his boss did the right thing. It was obviously an easy solution. Yet the first guy I know was his name. Noah felt like he was on a power trip. And nope, can’t do it again. Or no, absolutely not. There was no effort to even try to resolve it. I would have actually been better had he said, You know what? Even if in his mind he knew there was no way, let’s say there were slam packed, there was just no way there was no solution. It would have been better if he just said, You know what? I feel for you, man, I’m sorry. Let me just give me a minute. Let me go, talk to him. Let me see if there’s anything we can do. Had he gone back, spent a minute, he could have gone in the bathroom for all I care. He’d come out and then like, I’m sorry, man, I really wish we could do something different. If his attitude was different and it’s so and he seemed like he made a little bit of an effort, I would have been totally fine. I wouldn’t have been happy to leave there. 

John We probably would have gone somewhere else to try and get on. But I would have at least appreciated that. He made an effort and I would have looked back at myself and said, You know what? My screw up I should have called which it was, you know, I should have called in advance, but I would have just then. I would not have had any negative feelings toward the course. But in the end, they resolved it and the right person did the right thing. But the other guy, now you know, here I am doing a podcast on am I going to name in the name of the cause because they end up resolving it? But you know, the bottom line is I’m like, How easy is it? Some people have such an easy time saying, no, they look for they just they don’t want to go the extra mile. They don’t want to go to the extra end to try to find a solution. And bottom line is a no in business for a customer. It makes them feel unwanted, undervalued, unappreciated, unimportant. 

John And for somebody who works for, you know, is deflating, sometimes it’s frustrating and an anger, and sometimes it’s embarrassing. Sometimes somebody asks for something to step outside their comfort zone and to get a flat. No. It’s just it doesn’t lead to anything very productive. Now that’s not to say you’ve got to say yes to everything you can. You obviously can. In fact, one of the bigger problems that leaders have sometimes is to say yes to everything. They don’t want to say no. They have a problem saying no, that’s not my message. My message is when you’re in a situation where you have when you feel you do have to say no or there’s just no option or whatever the case is, just think through it and think through, is there actually an option because there might be a solution to get around different problems, you know? I remember I had I had asked for somebody help on something. 

John I was putting something together for a client and I’d ask for somebody’s help. This was a long time ago and I had gone to one person who I thought could help me fix something or get something done. And their response was, Nope, I can’t. I can’t, can’t help you with that. And I’m like, OK, well, it’s kind of in your category of what you do. All right. I just naturally assumed you’d be the person you could be. You could do that. And his answer was just so flip, and it was just, nope, can’t do it. I’m like, All right. And then I kind of thought of that person as somebody that I can’t go to in the future if for help or support. And it just didn’t do much to build the relationship. So my point is that response could have been, you know, no, I can’t or here’s I don’t have the skills or I don’t have the resources that all of the equipment and the know-how, whatever. But here’s somebody who I might suggest going. So that’s all that would have actually paved the way for. 

John I would have looked at that as a valuable interaction, not one that was deflating that led to a dead end. There was nowhere to go after that, and I just had to kind of back up and figure out, OK, well, what do I do now and how do I figure this out on my own? The bottom line is when you’re in that situation, think through what are the possible issues? And if you’re on the other side of this, you know, I think about this as both the leader and the follower or the company and the customer. Both sides can do things to get around to know the leader or the person that’s being asked. Something that has to give a no can say, Hey, no, I can’t approve that expenditure, but I could. I can’t approve that twenty thousand dollar expense, but I could approve something that’s 10000. So can we be creative and figure out a way to deliver the same thing? 

John Get the same thing done for less? That’s a better answer than I know. Or Hey, no, I can’t give you control or I can’t. I’m not going to put you in charge of that project. OK, just a flat out. No is the fleeting. But how about hey, no, I’m not going to right now. And here are the reasons why. But I appreciate number one, you wanting to take leadership on it. And here’s what I will do. I will keep you in mind for the next ones. I want to see you grow. I want to see you take an opportunity like this. So because you brought it to me, I now have you on my radar screen and I will keep that in mind for future projects. Great that no actually suddenly turned into somewhat of a positive step, and that person feels good that they at least made that request. But a flat out now just doesn’t work. So think about what are the in this situation. 

John The no came from the fact maybe this guy Noah at the golf course was just lazy, didn’t want to. He just was easier to say no. Maybe it was because he was afraid of the other golfers giving him crap because he was the one who let you know. There’s a lot of people that just say no, because they don’t want to put themselves out there and be responsible for the decision of yes, right. They don’t want the repercussions if it comes back at them, they just don’t want to deal with that, right? So it’s easier just to say No, Hey, no, you want to do that? No, it’s out of the box. It’s something different. It’s not our normal thing. No, there’s so many people that just they’re flat out responses. No, because they don’t want to be on the hook for having made the decision of yes. So maybe that’s the work around. Maybe it’s Hey, would you be OK if I did this and I will take ownership for this? If this does not work, it’s 100 percent on me. Sometimes it’s that sometimes that can get around the now in this case with the golf course. 

John You know, the problem for Noah was apparently other golfers complaining, OK, well, you know, knowing that maybe I can say, Hey, listen, you know, if there’s is there a way for me to do this? And maybe the option was not to have us back to back a three and a two, but maybe we put out, you know, three of our guys out now. And is there another spot that’s a little more open and a half an hour and these guys will grab a sandwich in the pros out in the clubhouse? Whatever you know, maybe that was a solution that would lead to less risk of him having some backlash from the other golfers. So bottom line, do what you need to as a leader to come up with other options. A no is is absolutely warranted for many, many times. Believe me, I’ve been in many, many situations where as much as I wanted to give a yes, the gist there was clear cut no there, but at least give something. In addition to that an explanation. Here’s a reason why maybe sometimes as the leader, I can bounce a back to that person and say, Hey, listen, here’s what I’m faced with. Here’s a reason why it’s a no. 

John We don’t have the money in the budget or we don’t have. We have these limitations. We have to fit within these parameters. We’ve got these expectations we’ve got to deliver on. So help me find another solution. What you’re coming to to me with, I cannot do. We can’t do it for these reasons. But let me put it back on you think through this, what other ideas are options given what I just told you? Do you have OK now as a leader? What I’m doing there is I’m giving some room. I’m showing the willingness to try to get to a yes, if it makes sense of it, makes good business sense. And here’s the parameters we’re going to make that decision on. But I’m also empowering that person, right? It’s a good leadership development thing. I’m giving that. I’m putting that person in the cockpit. Hey, you fly the plane. I’m giving that person the opportunity to put the leader hat on and the general manager hat on and think through this like a business owner and come up with another alternative solution. 

John That’s a great exercise. Leaders don’t do that enough. OK, so the more as a leader, you can put some of that decision making ability in other people’s hands. Give them the context to which you know they need to make the decision based on and give them the ability to come up with some creative solutions. A lot of times they’ll come up with stuff that you would never come up with or your team would never come up with. So don’t be afraid to go beyond just the simple know. OK, that’s my key message. 

John So as always, I hope this helped. Just some thoughts. A little bit of a story. I got lots more coming up. Believe me, I had two weeks to just think and I got a long list of podcasts and I’m just dying to do some podcasts and a lot. So stay tuned. As always, I appreciate your thoughts, your ideas, your comments. Share. Subscribe all that kind of good stuff. Go down below. Give five-star reviews. I greatly appreciate it. And last but not least, if you know of organizations yours or others that are looking for a keynote speaker, I’m out there doing them now or doing them live in-person events. Most companies have opened those up now starting in 2022, so feel free to reach out to me and we could talk about it. Thanks, everybody. Have a good one. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on! 

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