What's the best way to say "no" to someone?
You really have to be sure that saying "no" is the right answer, particularly if it's a strategic issue. I worry more about what we're doing, if we're doing the right thing, to position ourselves for the future. If the call is mine, then it's first about being open and objective and really understanding the benefits, costs, risks and alternatives.
If a business partner is making the call, we try to be very proactive about our views. But in the end, they make the call. We don't want to be just order-takers but when a decision is made, and you didn't like it, it doesn't matter. You make it a success.
I make it simple. I think, "What do I shut down that I don't need because now I need another thing?" You've got to get the monkey off the CIO's back. It's easy for business people to call up the CIO and beat them up.
You never say no. If you have list of priorities that your department has agreed on, then it's not saying no but agreeing to say yes to something else.
Smile while you're doing it.