Death by yes.

Want better work? Learn the art of saying no.

While some presenters at Cannes fall guilty of nattering in theoretical clichés, the dynamic duo of Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin instead focuses on offering rock solid advice on the path to better work. And it is surprisingly simple. We need to master the word “no”. As Vonk put it, “our inability to say no is the most pervasive leadership issue we face.”

We are all guilty of yes. Yes, to an impossible timeline… yes to a crazy budget. Yes to another project when we’re already in over our heads. Yes to edits or copy changes that we know in our hearts are crippling the idea.

We all want to perceived as great team players. We want our clients to like us. We don’t want to be labeled as difficult, obstructive, or unyielding. Add to it that as a culture we are adverse to conflict. We fear rejection. Getting fired is the wolf at the door.

Kestin thinks we need to reframe conflict as being the path to something worth fighting for. So we must master the art of saying no. The temporary discomfort is never