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We get into our roles and progress in our careers by sampling a little of everything, by being adaptable and capable of understanding and doing many things.

But sometimes “the most important thing” isn’t the thing that you should be doing - you’re a part of a broader team, remember! And maybe, just maybe, someone else should be doing the thing instead. It’s especially tough to remember this when companies and teams are changing; when you lose those key individuals and roles which keep the machinery working and processes flowing, but it’s a slippery slope to ending up doing the essential things, but not your responsibility, and never being able to find time for the critical IC Leadership stuff that only you can provide.

It’s about learning to say No - but not even to others, to ourselves. Yes, that work needs doing and yes, it has a big impact and it’s super important. But no, I don’t have to be the one who does it and no, I’m not going to do it because I should be doing something else that’s unique to my role that’ll pay off in another way.

This talk is little about why you need to say 'No' to people more, and how things can go wrong when you don’t learn to do it enough.