People say “no” to you. A lot.
“We’ve never done it that way before.”
“It always takes five working days to release a lot.”
“There is no way the supplier will agree to do that for us.”
“That will never work.”
“I’ll try, but management is never going to approve that.”
And on and on.
It’s frustrating. But guess what. You’re a supply chain leader. That doesn’t let you off the hook.
We’ve talked before about leading when you’re not the leader. We’re accountable for continuous supply but we don’t have direct control of the supply chain processes.
You have to get things done. But you can’t do things yourself. And you don’t seem to hold any leverage with the groups that can.
“Because a lot of times when people say no, they’re really saying something else.”
So what to do?
Have people say no to you many times before you concede.
Because a lot of times when people say “no”, they’re really saying something else.
Listen hard enough and you’ll know what that is.
Why We Say No
They’re saying “no”, but they could really be saying:
1. “I’m busy. I don’t have time to try untested approaches.”
Solution: Make their life easier by taking the initiative. Present a few alternatives. Lay out the benefit/risk of each with supporting data.
2. “I’m scared. Your elegant solution might actually work and I’ll be exposed.”
Solution: Collaborate. Involve them in the thought process. Solicit their input. Make them feel that this was a solution you developed together.
3. “What’s in it for me?”
Unfortunate, but not uncommon. Very human actually.
Quick Solution: Make sure the person’s peers/supervisors know about the pivotal role they play in the resolution.
That’s a bit superficial though and definitely not a long term fix.
Better Solution: Help people whenever you can. The direct effect is you build your emotional bank account with that person. This allows you to make future withdrawals when you actually need to.
But more importantly, unsolicited acts of good tend to encourage similar behavior.
4. “I don’t really like you.”
The fact that they don’t like you is not a problem — as long as there’s respect and professionalism. That said, you still need to take this seriously.
Solution: Direct the discussion to the facts and repercussions. Remind each other of who the ultimate customer is and why you both do your jobs.
Remember, liking each other is not a prerequisite for high performance teams. The Los Angeles Lakers won three NBA championships from 1999-2002 even though Shaq and Kobe hated each other.
5. “This is the first time I’m meeting you. I need some time to warm up to you.”
Solution: See number three above.
6. “I don’t really think that’s the right decision.”
Uh, you know, you could actually be wrong. Make sure you’re not caught in your own stubbornness and ego.
Solution: Listen. Be open. Propose a few alternatives. Aggressively solicit feedback and other solutions.
Did we miss anything? Let us know below.