Sunday, March 2, 2008

Permission Paradox

You recognize these situations?:

  • You apply for a 'manager job', but are turned down because you don't have any 'manager experience' However, you can not seem to gain manager experience without first being a manager.

  • You've got your drivers license, but your father or partner doesn't allow you to drive his car. He's afraid you might damage it. You can only proof you will not damage the car by driving it.

These situations are examples of what is called the

Permission Paradox

The permission paradox with regard to career management is described and promoted by Spencer Stuart on bases of the book 'The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers'.

It's one of the great Catch-22s in business.

In general it's simply stated: “You can't get the permission (job) without the experience and you can't get the experience without the permission (job).”

In practice you can overcome the paradox. Let's mention a few methods for gaining permission.

  • If you want something, just ask

  • Demonstrate competence or required behavior in areas that form the building blocks for new future roles

  • To gain associative or expert permission, get the relevant credentials

  • Ensure that both parties get something from the relationship

Of course there are more, (discussable) strategies to avoid the permission paradox.

But anyway, unlock your potential, be aware of the paradox and don't accept a 'no' for an answer: do something!

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