"It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission" - promoting courage and responsibility

do it, or get laseredWhen I first heard this quote, I didn't like it. It sounded to me like it promotes disrespect. It sounded to me like it said "don't waste your time caring about the needs of others, just do what you want. If they don't like it, you can fix that by appologizing."
Respect still is an important value to me today. Still, I like that quote more and more, as I begin to read it differently.
In fact, I think that neither getting permission nor asking forgiveness are what is at the core of a good change initiative. What seems to be much more important is taking responsibility for the world you live in, and fostering a discussion leading to mutual understanding.
So I see two advantages with implementing a change without asking for permission:
  • I take full responsibility for the change. If it affects someone negatively, I will be more inclined to get into a constructive discussion, possibly leading to an adaption of the change, instead of just answering "but it was approved by [insert some authority person here], so it's not my fault".
  • Discussion of the change will take place in the presence of real feedback, in the presence of actually observed advantages and disadvantages - instead of speculation, fear of the unknown, and ungrounded expectations.
To me, this is another step to understanding why Courage is an important value in Extreme Programming. And I find it amazing how good - how liberating - it feels to act courageously and responsibly.
Thank you Kent! Thank you Grace!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!