Managers - Asking for Permission or Asking for Forgiveness

By Bob Morrell on July 25, 2017

One of our customers is very naughty. What this person does is get us working on projects ahead of the official procedure. So when they are questioned on it, by a superior,  the response is ‘well we’ve started now…’ or ‘look at the results – too late now, we’re off and running.’

They’re so convinced that they’ll get the result they just begin, knowing in advance that at some stage they’ll have to 'ask for forgiveness'.

If they’d asked for permission, this would have taken forever – so they simply don’t bother.

This is how managers get a reputation for being a ‘doer’ and a ‘mover and a shaker’. What do these expressions mean? It means that they get on with things and stand by their decisions. They back their hunches. They assume a responsibility for the business that goes beyond ‘employee’. Some don’t have that level of confidence because it’s a gamble – one way or the other. Some of us are not natural gamblers.

Being a successful manager is about much more than ‘achieving management status’. Anyone can do that by hanging around for long enough and appearing to be efficient. The best performers don’t make the best managers. The key to management is the ability to make decisions and take calculated risks. So the next time you, as a manager, are faced with a decision, consider asking for forgiveness later, instead of permission now, and see what difference it makes!