I read a while ago this story. Within the highly structured and hierarchical (by design) Catholic church, a Religious Order (an internal formal community of brothers) had been waiting for centuries for Rome to lift the ‘in excommunicationem’ status (ex-communication) or maximum penalty for gross deviation from the dogma, of one of its medieval brothers, a top German theologian at the time, once a high teacher and scholar in La Sorbonne in Paris. He had been, and is still today, highly regarded and influential across a broad spectrum of spiritual practices, beyond the Catholic church, but had over centuries the big weight of his unorthodox thinking and preaching on his shoulders. His battles with the official defenders of the orthodoxy only ended by his natural death, fortunately before the planned final ideological tribunal in Avignon.
Just very recently, a ‘more friendly’ new Vatican administration, and after a polite reminder by the new Head of the Order, replied finally that there was no case for the ‘excommunication’ to be lifted because, in fact, the brother preacher at La Sorbonne had never been excommunicated in the first place. The news apparently took centuries to reach them.
Now imagine that, in the real world, present day, you were waiting for permission to act. OK, not as historically glorious as the German medieval brother. Let’s say more prosaic waiting, from the boss or boss’ bosses. Imagine, that you get the news that the permission is not coming because you never needed it; you had it already.
Would that not be sort of embarrassing?
OK, don’t wait for natural death as the brother in Avignon. Get up and move. Catch up with the time lost.
Here is a list of permissions that you should check whether you actually never needed them. Please do so before brain degeneration (or pension) kicks in:
- To push the boundaries and abandon default positions
- To open Pandora boxes, to uncover mysteries and deal with cans of worms
- To get fellow travellers not in your teams, not in your formal structures, working with you
- To get ready for the unpredictable and prepare yourself with constant learning
- To make it happen, and fix it later
- To tell others, to tell others to work across boundaries
- To do great things that are not in your job description
- To engage other bosses not in your direct hierarchical line
- To initiate change and create traction
- To talk, engage, team up, with absolutely anybody, anywhere in the organization regardless rank and geographies. Use of the phone included.