One of the most irksome things I’ve heard people say in conversation lately is this little quip: “After all, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”
What this says to me is that most people are so convinced of the entrenchment of power in their various workplaces, families and organizations that they would rather move ahead on their own initiative, knowing they will have to repent and grovel for a moment or two when confronted instead of go through the rigamarole and nonsense of trying to get something done the expected or defined way.
I love initiative. I really (REALLY) hate power plays. But just doing something, knowing you will have to apologize later for it, smacks of manipulation to me. It’s much more honest to try to accomplish things by the accepted process, get stopped in one’s tracks, and then decide to act anyway, knowing the consequences, than to act anyway without announcing your intention.
Those whose behavior constantly calls for (planned) apologies are as much to blame for sucky organizational systems as those who hold their power and won’t bend or think outside their boxes. You’re in the dance together when you play these games. You’re just in different corners of the same dance floor.