Prioritize – Saying "No" can be a good thing.

Put yourself in the following scenario:
You are sitting at your desk working on something when an email comes in from a customer asking you to perform a certain task. You have a lot on your plate but of course you also want to help.

Your first instinct is to just say yes to the task and then figure out later how you will manage your workload. But, instead of following that inner voice, we would like you to take a step back and prioritize. In fact, have you thought about the possibility that it might be of advantage to say "No"?

Train your brain to decline some operational work and transform into amore strategic partner. The following exercise can help you make a decision if the task that has been asked of you should in fact be performed by you or not.

Get Started

Is this task in line with my business priorities?


Action: Talk to the requestor of this task, explain where there is misalignment and propose an alternate way to add value.

Does it reflect what I have in my objectives?

Yes No

Action: Point out the other things you are currently working on and discuss an alternative solution.


Can this task add value to an existing project I am working on?


Do one of the HR CoE's cover the request that was made?


Action: Reach out to that CoE, explain the task and then connect them to the requestor

Action: Explain to the requestor that you will do the task but within an adapted timeframe in line with your other projects that have a more critical timeline.


Will the business objectives be negatively impacted if I don't do this request in a timely manner?


Action: Explain to the requestor that there are currently no resources in HR that cover this request. If you feel it's a missed opportunity speak to your manager about it.

Action: Confirm to the requestor that you will take on the task, inform your manager of the same.

Content on this slide includes some information from CEB. The information on CEB comes from sources external to Novartis and is intended for informational purposes and internal use only. It is not permitted to share the information externally. Source: