Gray keyboard with green O and K keys

Silence = Acceptance.

If you’re not quite ready to ask forgiveness instead of permission, try this instead. Next time you need approval from someone (or a group of someones) not known for speedy responses:

  1. Tell them what you plan to do*
  2. State when you will do it
  3. Include something like “I wanted to be sure everyone had the opportunity to review our new ___ and provide feedback. If you have any comments or concerns, please let me know no later than September 9, as we plan to go live on the 10th.”
*Email works best, so you have proof that you informed them. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s always good to have a paper trail. Be sure to allow a reasonable amount of time for review; this will vary depending on your organizational culture and the length of time people will need to spend reviewing, but at least a couple business days is ideal.


On step 3, use collaborative language–you want buy-in, not resistance. This tactic not only allows you to loop people in, it allows them to self-select out. Maybe managers from other groups would like to know about a feature article before you post it to the website, but they don’t necessarily want to provide feedback. Trust me: they’ll let you know if there’s a problem.


Each week on Tuesday I’ll post quick tips that have worked for me (and occasionally, things that haven’t). Please feel free to share your own tips in the comments.  Have you found another way to get the approvals you need to get things done?