Champion Leadership Tip #34 – “It’s Easier to Ask for Forgiveness…

…than ask for permission.”

Is the old adage.

It didn’t work for General McChrystal last week (and there are 3 reasons why in my blog post from Friday, June 25th), but for leaders who need to make strategic and tactical decisions, I’ve found this philosophy works extremely well.

As a matter of fact I would recommend to leaders at all levels that this philosophy be added to their toolbelt.

Now, this recommendation does come with just a couple of caveats:

  • Wait to use this strategy until after you’ve developed a track record of competency in decision-making and have an in-depth knowledge of your organization’s Vision, Strategy and Values.
  • Make sure whatever decision you are making or the actions you are taking are coming from the right place. That right place is that the intention is always “in the best interests of your organization.”

If you have a track record of making quality strategic and tactical decisions, and your track record has always pointed you doing things in the best interest of your organization, those you need to answer to will give you a lot of leeway to take calculated risks.

When doing so, make sure you cover your tracks with facts and research on which you based your decision and actions so you can plead your case after the fact. If your rationale is reasonable you’ll be fine.

The other reason this philosophy is important in leadership decision-making is that it will help leaders, and those they lead, breakthrough procrastination and inertia.

When I left my position as president of my final baseball franchise this was one of the key pieces of advice I offered my replacement, who was my assistant general manager for eight years.

A couple of years later he and I were speaking and he told me this one piece of advice was the most important advice he was given as he transitioned to the top position in the organization.

If you respect this leadership philosophy and use it in the right situations it will serve you well, too.

Make it a great week!

skip weisman, helping leaders motivate employees to improve organizational performance