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Mastering the Art of No

As a Salesforce administrator or support staff, we are often asked a wide range of questions and requests. These can come from all levels of the organization and can be anything from a five-minute fix to a multi-year, expensive project. I know that I have personally made the mistake of trying to say yes to too many things. I’ve also said yes to the wrong things, to the detriment of priorities like org security and data quality. It’s tempting to try to solve every problem, and it feels good when you can tell someone “yes, I’ll fix that for you.”

However, if we want to leave a good legacy and a sustainable system, we need to think strategically about what to say yes to, and – more importantly – what to say no to.

But saying no is not always easy. One of the biggest challenges in work (and in life!) can be learning when and how to say no. We’ve all made the mistake of committing to something that we knew wasn’t a good idea, so how do we avoid these situations?

Here are my tips for deciding when and how to say “no” to a request:

1. Before you start anything, make sure you can clearly articulate the problem and how you will know that it’s fixed. If you can’t state it, you can’t fix it.

2. Ask probing questions to help you strategize.

  • How much effort will this be?

  • How many people need to be involved?

  • Is leadership bought in?

  • Does it cost money?

  • Is there a budget for it?

  • What’s the timeframe?

3. Be transparent in your decision making:

  • Tell them when you don’t know something (and then go learn it!)

  • Be honest if the available solutions suck or are out of scope for your org.

  • Document your requirements, decisions, and outcomes.

4. Have a strategically “yes” mindset: nothing is ever out of the question, but some things are such a stretch that it wouldn’t make sense to implement them. Be open to all ideas, but thoughtful in which ones you prioritize and put resources into.

5. Not everything has to happen right now. Change is hard. Just because you might be ready to implement something doesn’t mean your users are ready to receive it. The best way to get user adoption is to pace rollouts to their schedule and make changes in smaller phases rather than all at once. Test a minimum viable solution in a sandbox to see if anyone will actually use it before putting in the work to build it out fully.

6. Be willing to revisit solutions and requests to make changes when they make sense for your org.

7. Don’t take things too personally (or too seriously!) Technology is fickle and prone to error. It’s not always designed well, and humans make honest mistakes. When your users complain about something, remember that issues are bound to happen, use this as an opportunity to make improvements and build relationships.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful the next time you’re confronted with a new request. How do you prioritize and manage your workload? Share your strategies in the comments!

If you need some extra help prioritizing and implementing your Salesforce to-do list, contact me for a free 30 minute strategy session at

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