It’s a situation I see far too often, and one that truly saddens me, Energised individuals (especially those new to a team or project) with great ideas, shrinking into a general monotony in just a few weeks. Their creative light diminished. Instead of being harnessed and embraced – new energy is squandered and suppressed.

While most may consider the surrounding factors here (leadership, culture, vision) – I’ve found that the underlying theme is Social Permission, or rather the lack thereof. Individuals are not given explicit permission to grow, and so they wilt. It’s a common trap, especially in organisations that are larger or with greater levels of governance and oversight, but smaller organisation are in no way immune.

Social permission is also often an issue all the way up organisational chains. Too many executives and managers make decisions from a basis of fear. Fear of losing funding, bonuses, resources and favour. The end result is ignored talent, wasted energy and poor commitment. It usually also creates high attrition rates, lower morale and high absenteeism.

To remedy this, we need to foster boldness. Boldness in two areas,

First: Boldness within our teams and organisations. In line with efforts to create empowerment, we need to give our teams the permission to grow, to offer value, and to bring their uniqueness to their role.

Second: Boldness within ourselves. Simply put – what do we intuitively know is right for ourselves, our organisations and our communities but we are waiting for someone to give us permission to act?

For years, there have been efforts to foster entrepreneurship and innovation within organisations. Successful growth and innovation require boldness and a true acceptance of the risk that accompanies it. It’s a little cheeky, but, when the results speak for themselves, sometimes it is a little easier to ask forgiveness rather than permission.

Your Action Plan:

Ask yourself:

Where am I asking permission?

Where am I waiting for permission to grow?

Am I using the lack of permission as an excuse or crutch to avoid maximising what I do for others?

Then, pick one answer to the above – and act on it this week.

Take the Risk.
Be Bold. 

Stop Asking Permission.

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