Waiting for permission


The annual performance review.

Once very protected, now much maligned.

The responses to the big players in industry decreeing it dead have been mixed. Some leaders are screaming that the change is nothing but a fad, vigorously defending their existing programs.

Others have run into the street and had a ticker tape parade with the remnants of their original programs. They are now studiously staring at their screens reading the latest research, watching their peers and calling in the management consultants, organisational psychologists and HR experts to assist in the re-design of their programs. But the most baffling response by far has been the 'hallelujah!' response. Where individuals who have worked across industry and been the curators of such programs jump up and say 'I always knew it never worked!'.

So, if you knew, what stopped you from changing it?

For some of you, you simply didn't, and possibly still don't, have the power to effect change. I get it, when there is a 'big wall of no' facing you from the decision-making table, you are loathe to keep pushing for fear of being labelled a troublemaker with your crazy ideas. It's much easier not to. For others, you may have been waiting for permission to change from someone smarter, bigger, better (?) and, now that permission has been granted, selling that change to your own 'approval-givers' will be that much easier.

But regardless of whether you were powerless or simply unaware of there being a better way, your opportunity to lead change across your industry may well be gone.

The one thing I loved about moving from a large global firm to a small start-up was the ability to effect change quickly. The opportunity to bring ideas to life without trawling through an arduous and often tediously slow decision-making process. This is what gives small firms their edge; they're nimble, agile and capable of re-shaping to innovate ahead of their larger competitors.

But if you, as a smaller player, wait for the permission to innovate from the bigger players, you have essentially lost your edge.

So the big question is what should you be changing now? What could be done better? What are you still doing that shouldn't be done at all anymore? What 'industry best practice' is no longer valuable? And what amazingly crazy ideas are floating around in your head? Because it might be time to say those ideas out loud.

Or you could wait for permission.

Image: Alex on Unsplash