Position, Process, and Permission

Teachers, coaches, managers, and leaders of all kinds are in the business of getting other people to do things.

Assuming that they’re doing this for the right reasons, they have to manage a complex dance of styles and sources of power.

Some rely on position: you have to do what I say, because I’m in charge here.

Others rely on the process: this is the way it works here.

And some rely on permission: can I invite you to try something that might get you closer to your goals?

Position and processes matter, but permission is what really makes progress possible. Unlike the others, permission is earned, it’s personal, and it’s possible to evolve with the needs of a person or circumstance.

And that’s what really matters in the end, isn’t it? Even if you could compel people to jump through hoops, it doesn’t make sense to do that unless they’re jumping in the right direction.