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Lesson 22:

Is it really better to ask forgiveness versus permission?

Salespeople joke about their compliance departments; “We are sales, they are sales prevention.” With that logic, the salesperson justifies an action they know to be unapproved. Once the deed is done, and if the behavior is caught, they then bow down and ask forgiveness. Some may feel emboldened that their actions worked and fight off an apology. What comes next is telling.

Do praise and awards come as expected for making the numbers, or are there consequences for having done the work without the proper authorization?

What happens within our personal relationships when one approaches a conflict such as this? Trust breaks down. Reputation and the expectation that one has the other’s back begins to wear thin until it ultimately crumbles. If you find yourself in either position frequently, then a very reasonable question would be why do you maintain the relationship?

The action item here is to seek to understand why the other party is opposed to your plan or idea. Perhaps you have done that already and they just don’t get it. Maybe they just don’t understand. Could it be that the reasoning for either side may not be clear, or is it very clearly spelled out and you just want to do something different? In either way, if you proceed without consent and buy-in just know you do not get many chances to walk it back. Coming back from tarnished trust takes time, repeated clear effort.