Initiative: 4 Ways to Act without Permission

New ideas always encounter resistance.

Success requires initiative.

Leaders act without permission.

There’s too much permission-asking in organizations.

You’ve been asking permission all your life. It began when you were a kid.

How might you take initiative when you’re surrounded by naysayers?

Success requires initiative. Image of two dogs playing with a frisbee.

4 ways to act without permission

Reject the idea that good employees ask permission.

  1. Display regard for others. Don’t think of initiative as getting your own way. Act with the best interest of others when you take initiative.
  2. Use curiosity, not anger. When you’re afraid to speak up, anger builds up. Initiative based on anger is self-serving. It’s about making things better for you. Self-serving leaders lose influence.
  3. Be proactive, not reactive. A lousy boss is no excuse to do what you want to do. Initiative is acting-for, not acting-against.
  4. Act with openness. A closed mind reflects a better-than spirit. Initiative is about humility, not arrogant superiority.
Anyone committed to 'steady as she goes' finds reasons to stay the same.

Image of a sailboat on still water.

Don’t solve a naysayer’s objections.

The first response to new ideas is usually no.

The worst thing you can do is solve a naysayer’s objection. The moment you answer one objection, a committed naysayer spouts two more.

Anyone who is committed to ‘steady as she goes’ finds reasons to stay the same.

3 ways to respond to naysayers:

  1. Seek input early and first. Don’t ask naysayers for permission to try something new. Tell them you’re developing a new course of action. “What problems might we encounter if we…?”
  2. When they say, “That won’t work,” say, “What exactly did you try? What specifically did you learn that didn’t work?”
  3. When they say, “We can’t,” say, “Lets come up with three reasons it won’t work and three reasons it will.”

What suggestions do you have for someone who wants to take initiative? (Act without permission.)

Still curious: Taking Initiative