How to say ‘No’ to your CEO.

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There’s a well-known saying that Product Managers are the “mini-CEOs.” It’s mostly bogus. The CEO is the CEO. And as a product manager, learning to say “no” to the CEO is one of the most important skills you can have. It’s also one of the most common things you will do. (Or rather, should be doing.)

The key to saying no, even when doing so is difficult, is to back it up with data. Remember that your job is not to please everyone. And any PMs who try to do this will get bogged down and eventually crushed under loads of ultimately unfulfillable requests. Your job is to understand the market, the customer & the product, and to synthesize data, feedback & requests together into the optimal course of action. And all of it should be backed by qualitative and quantitative data. All of it.

So, how do you tell your CEO “no”? Easy. You are a proxy for the data. A channel. Have confidence in your decision-making. It’s not you that says no. It’s the data that says no.

Published by Stefan von Imhof

Leading Product at Flippa. Buying & selling micro-businesses on the side. My personal brand is all over the map.

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