February 17, 2010

WWIF #2: Giving Implicit Permission, Instead of Requiring Explicit Approval

In support of abductive logic—the logic of what could be—I'll be posting a question for your consideration on the weekly feature: Wednesday What IF?

Lengthy and overly bureaucratic approval processes often inhibit innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.  While some decisions and resource allocations certainly require more exhaustive or detailed reviews, many don't.

What if your organization flipped the approval process and granted implicit permission for certain decisions/experiments UNLESS they meet certain criteria?

In other words, the green light is automatically given unless an individual's idea requires ________ (fill in the blank with your own criteria. 

Instead of making people ask for permission, give permission upfront to unleash individual self-direction and contributions to your organization's strategic and tactical aspirations.


Previous WWIF posts:

What if associations let members pay annual meeting registrations or dues in multiple-year increments (i.e., three-year dues or three-year annual conference registration)?

2 comments:

Eric Lanke said...

Great idea, Jeffrey. Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? Isn't that what the Carver model of governance is based on?

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Eric: I would say this is similar in spirit to Carver. I think of the policy model as focusing more on state end results where what I am suggesting would be even more specific in terms of activities/means that would be allowed.

For instance, at one association where I worked any staffer could commit the organization to any effort consistent with the strategic plan that did not involve more than $5000 in expenses. That's quite a bit of freedom to make on-the-spot commitments when you see an opportunity.

I think giving permissions upfront would be most beneficial in unleashing volunteers' ideas and innovations.