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Stop waiting for the permission bus

I’ve made it analogous to waiting for a bus, this whole topic of permission, and how it pertains to work. What I mean is I often see teams or individuals waiting for permission before they take any action. Sometimes they know who they seek permission from, often not – they are just waiting for someone to give them the green light. Or the permission they seek is from the right person but not needed. It’s like waiting for a bus when maybe walking will do because the destination is just around the corner, you just don’t know it. Or the bus is cancelled, and you are waiting in vain.

Another way of putting this notion is often attributed to Grace Hopper: It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.

My point with this DanelDoodle, is clearly not to be waiting for permission.

Obviously, this does not apply in every single case. There will be times when you need to get something cleared before acting. Maybe it’s something you need expert input on, like a perspective on something that may have legal implications.

Most of the time though, people are just avoiding responsibility for decision making because they fear being blamed for the result if it’s not positive.

I say we get paid to take risks. Sensible risks but risks none the less, where outcomes are seldom certain.

Unless you have just come out of education and super early in career, you will have built up knowledge and skill and that is what you are being paid to use.

Managers should also build this culture into their teams and organisations.

So buy a t-shirt and drive decision making. Don’t worry too much about the consequences. If needed, ask for forgiveness – just don’t make the same mistake again.

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