I think there are two ways to grow in your career. The first way is to say YES a lot. YES to new projects. YES to taking more ownership. YES to long working hours. YES to doing whatever it takes to get shit done.

If you are early in your career, saying YES is key to your growth.

But most people never learn the other way of career growth, which is even more critical: Saying NO; How to say it, and When to say it. How do you block low priority projects, which won’t impact your metrics, without pissing off some key stakeholder? How to say NO to your manager when there is a need for it?

Also how do you disagree and commit, which is essentially a hybrid of both YES and NO.

Stakeholder management is all about saying YES and NO. How to say it at the right time, in the right setting, without ruining relationships.

If you keep hearing that someone is strategic, it probably means that they have mastered the art of saying YES and NO.