Gartner Research

Mastering the Art of Saying "No" for CIOs

Published: 16 May 2017

ID: G00326071

Analyst(s): Ed Gabrys , Ian Cox , Tina Nunno


As CIOs evolve from service providers to true partners and digital leaders, mastering the art of saying "no" is increasingly important. Saying "no" effectively will help CIOs maximize the time they can spend on high-value initiatives and enhance their leadership reputation.

Table Of Contents


  • A Successful "No" Creates Three Positive Outcomes
  • Strive for the "Assertive No" Rather Than the "Aggressive No"
  • Hierarchy Matters When Saying "No"
  • Plan Ahead for the Target to Say "No" to Your "No"
    • If They Have More Power Than You Do, Assess the Risk of Retaliation
    • If the Target Has Approximately Equal Power to the CIO, Manage the Escalation Path
    • If They Are a Subordinate or Do Not Escalate, Consider Triggering Reciprocity
  • Remember, There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Technique for "No"

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