Getting Done What Needs Doing

You may have heard the saying "It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to beg for permission."
I learned it early in my career when I was a Training consultant working in a nuclear power plant. Many of the people I interacted with had come from the Navy.
Only recently however have I learned that Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper expressed it more fully:

"If it is a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than to get permission."

My colleague in organizational consulting Fred Nickols, who is a retired Navy man, confirmed that Hopper's dictum was well known.
According to Fred: "I'm familiar with Grace Hopper's quote; it was quite popular in my day. She was a four-striper then. (It) makes sense if you like taking the initiative and getting done what needs doing."
Over the course of my career, I have gotten into trouble for "going ahead and doing" things that needed done.
But I wouldn't have done it any other way.
Terrence Seamon is a veteran of the corporate world who now consults on leadership development and career transitions. Follow him on twitter @tseamon


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