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Asking for Forgiveness, Not Permission

When you hear the phrase “ask for forgiveness, not permission,” what do you think?

Do you think, “I can do anything I want and if something goes wrong, or if I get caught I’ll just say I’m sorry?” Wrong. Actions have consequences.

Often in business, if speed and agility are important and if many mistakes can be corrected, creating a culture of “ask for forgiveness, not permission” can empower a workforce.

The key to successfully implementing this strategy is stressing the proper use of judgment and holding people accountable for their decisions.

The following examples will show you how this change in mind-set can improve performance at any level of a company.

On the Front Lines

James works in an engineering lab. One Thursday afternoon, a company expediter tried delivering a package to the lab. The lab supervisor who normally signs for packages was away at a meeting. Three of James’ fellow employees were unwilling to sign and debating if a supervisor’s signature was required. James walked over and after listening to the discussion for a few minutes said “I’ll sign it.”

He figured it made no sense for the expediter to wait around for a...

Four Ways Your Spouse Can Screw Up Your Security Clearance

When someone obtains a security clearance, the government is making a decision to allow that person access to classified information. But qualifying for a clearance goes beyond just a single individual. Your spouse or partner is intimately involved in the process, from being included on your SF-86 background investigation paperwork to being interviewed to, in some cases, tanking your chances of obtaining or keeping a clearance.

Here are four ways your spouse or partner can affect your security clearance.

1. House of Cards

If you have a security clearance and you let your spouse manage all of your finances, you should have a very high degree of trust about his or her ability to spend responsibly. A federal contract employee and E-7 military retiree learned the hard way that it’s a bad idea to turn a blind eye to the outflow of family money.

After racking up $50,000 in consumer debt, the employee admitted the debt was due to “his own stupidity,” as well as letting his spouse handle the finances. But just as ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of your spouse’s spending is no excuse. The Defense Department of Hearings and Appeals  affirmed...

Thriving at the Speed of Change

The current theme in much of today’s management writing and speaking focuses on the unparalleled speed and volume of change in our world.

From the work of Gary Hamel (video: Reinventing the Technology of Human Accomplishment) to the excellent new book, No Ordinary Disruption, by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel at McKinsey, to a variety of other new works, the literature certainly suggests it’s a fascinating and simultaneously frightening time to be responsible for guiding an organization forward into the storm. While we’re all busy learning to navigate and leverage (or understand) big data, the real issue is or should be navigating big change.

In No Ordinary Disruption, the authors offer a powerful, research-backed narrative describing the four primary forces behind the shifting landscape of society and business. These include the massive movement of people to urban centers in much of the underdeveloped world; the ever-present and unrelenting pace of technological change; the aging of the world’s population and the powerful force of globalization.

The book is fascinating, the evidence compelling and if you’re in charge of one of yesterday’s businesses, you’re to be excused if one of your thoughts is...

The American Dream: Personal Optimists, National Pessimists

You can barely open a newspaper these days without reading how the American Dream is dying—hobbled by the troubled economy, divisive politics, threats from abroad, or some other intractable challenge. And if you ask Americans how the nation is doing—as we did in a Penn Schoen Berland poll of about 2,000 Americans from June 8 to 19, 2015, commissioned for The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute for the 11th Aspen Ideas Festival—they will indeed say in large majorities that the American Dream is suffering (75 percent), that obstacles to realizing the Dream are “more severe today than ever” (69 percent), and that overall the nation is on the wrong track (64 percent).

But here’s what’s remarkable about all this pessimism about America: It bears very little resemblance to what people actually feel about their own lives. Seventy-two percent of respondents say they are living the American Dream or expect to—50 percent who are living it now and another 22 percent who believe they can attain it in their lifetime. Other satisfaction measures are as high or higher: 67 percent feel secure about their personal financial situation; 72 percent are happy in their jobs...

Migrating to the Cloud in Six Easy Steps

Migrating IT infrastructure to cloud-based services provides innumerable benefits once accomplished, but it remains one of the biggest challenges facing organizations today.

Even when all the advantages are known, the question remains how to actually move your resources to the cloud computing model. The best way to develop your migration strategy is to use an iterative approach that reduces the complexity of a comprehensive plan. The general steps involved for most organization are:

1. Obtain a clear picture of your IT infrastructure. What are you currently using? Are all your current needs being met? Do you have any gaps in your infrastructure?

2. Determine which portions of your infrastructure would benefit from a migration. It may not make sense to move your entire infrastructure to cloud-based services. You may want to keep certain portions on site or in-house. Consider these potential cloud-based service benefits.

3. Order those resources in terms of simplicity and necessity. When looking at cloud-based services pick those that are simple to understand and use. Only get what covers the services you need.

4. Develop a roadmap for migrating those resources to cloud services. Plan out the steps it will take to move your current infrastructure to...