A true story on being courageous and not waiting for permission

 In Mindset

Recently I was meeting with a senior executive at his office. I asked him what behaviour or attitude he had used in his career – that had paid off for him – and because it had paid off, he continued to use to the present time*.

He said:  “Be courageous – don’t wait for permission to do something”.

Let me explain what he meant: In another senior role in a posting outside of Australia the executive took it upon himself to extend the branch network in the foreign country without getting formal permission from his head office in Australia. (The organisation’s managing director wasn’t interested in expanding the branch network and getting approval to do so would have been arduous and time consuming).

However the executive envisioned an excellent opportunity if the organization expanded. So he decided to ‘be courageous and not wait for approval’. He was successful in expanding the branch network to 50 branches.

He said, “When you see an opportunity that can benefit the organization (versus just feathering your own nest and boosting your own profile) and you believe you have the skills to implement the opportunity and the timing is right – go for it”.

The ‘how to apply’ for this post: Reflect on action you know you should take (because it’s right for the organisation) but haven’t because you don’t have formal permission. Re-visit that action. Have a thorough think-through on the action. If permission isn’t forthcoming, be courageous and take the needed action.


*The ‘what has paid off in your career’ question is one I regularly ask. It’s helped me develop and deepen my business thinking and insight. It might be useful to have it in your arsenal of potential questions you can readily ask your clients and colleagues.

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