To make progress.. just try getting away with it.

People who tend to make the most headway and those who tend to spend less time waiting –  don’t rely on corporate endorsement before taking action.

That’s not to say they take mad, irresponsible decisions and buck the system just to be rebellious. No, they are considered and are 99.9% sure of them-self.  However, they are  unhampered by the great corporate unsaid:

Ask around enough and someone will say no, squash your idea or find rules and processes to grind you to a halt. 

Although I have frequently been guided by the North East principle that “Shy bairns get nowt”.  (Translation! “If you don’t ask  – you will never receive”) the guiding thought should be ‘don’t ask – just do it’.

Colin Powell said ‘Less effective middle managers endorse the sentiment, “If I haven’t explicitly been told ‘yes,’ I can’t do it,” whereas the good ones believed, “If I haven’t explicitly been told ‘no,’ I can.”  There’s a world of difference between these two points of view.

Use the 5 point progress checker before asking for permission:

  1. Are you asking for permission because it’s a habit and you have not learnt to be guided by your own self belief…. yet?
  2. The one you are seeking endorsement from – how likely is it that they need to demonstrate their  jobs worth status by declining acts of initiative?
  3. Does your boss actually want to be bothered with your permission seeking or would they rather you just got on and delivered the end result – how ever you go about it?
  4. It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission – are you fearful of having to explain things if you intuition does not work out?
  5. Remember, if you end up as the buck stops here leader,  there will be no one to ask – get used to it.


I have a few Coaching slots available, but likely not for long. If you want support in the leap from capable manager to confident leader I’m happy to talk you through the scenario – you don’t need anyones permission!

Have a great week.

Paul Fox

Paul Fox has been active as a Construction Industry Performance Coach for the last 20 years and remains at the forefront of Collaborative Working and High Performance Team Behaviours. He disrupts the status quo of individuals, project and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle.

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