A couple of years ago, I acquired an Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management. I had a wonderful lecturer who knew how to draw us in and instil us with enthusiasm. His classes were always interesting and entertaining and I learned so many valuable lessons that I believe helped me to become better at my job.
But the most useful thing that I took away from this was one simple phrase: 'Proceed until Apprehended.'
I hadn’t heard that particular phrase used in this way before, but in the context of my career and the course we were studying, it made a lot of sense to me and I have carried it with me ever since. I’ve tried to find out who the phrase was originally attributed to but the information I have found is somewhat conflicting.
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What my lecturer meant by this simple statement however, was that, as managers, we should be confident and bold. Good leaders instinctively know what they should be doing and what is in the best interest of their organisation and their staff. Rather than hesitate when a decision has to be made, we need to have the courage to follow our instincts and go for it.
Of all the things I learned, this is the advice that I have put into practice most often.
But more than that, I have begun to live by his advice in my personal life as well. When my instincts tell me that something is right, I go for it, and more often than not, it works, and I have shared these words with others whenever their confidence is wavering.
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Of course, it doesn't mean that we should throw all caution to the wind and recklessly jump into things without forethought and planning. But if we have thought about it and planned it and it seems like a good idea, then we should have the confidence to proceed.
There is another lesson that I learned from a respected manager and it is this:
'It's easier to apologise than to ask for permission,' so if you do proceed and it all goes pear-shaped, smile, apologise and move on.