“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. – Zig Ziglar”
In Part 1, I introduced the ‘Taking Initiative Series’. It will give you a very good background to continue here for Part 2.
When I was younger, I dreaded the fact that I might never know how to take initiative. It got worse when I realized many people can’t explain or direct you on how to take initiative, but they still want you to take initiative. They know it when they see it, but they don’t know how to make it happen.
Then I started my career and I found the exact same thing time and time again. Managers know initiative when they see it, but they rarely can teach anyone to do it. So it becomes a case of you either have it or you don’t. Those that have it excel, those that don’t become ‘Findley’ and their career take a downward spin.
Don’t be like Findley. Findleys never make it.
This series has only 1 objective, to turn Taking Initiative into a science, where you are not actually focusing on how to take initiative, but on some well-defined inputs and steps that will always result in you Taking Initiative.
Learning how to Take Initiative is not just another skill you must possess to pass an interview. In today’s highly competitive world, I regard ‘Taking Initiative’ as the number one skill you must possess to make it. To get a job, to keep your job, to get a pay rise, to excel in the Marketplace, to be a good parent, to be a great friend, to be relevant in your community, you need to be a serial Initiative Taker.
If you fulfill your stated job role with excellence, you are still not taking initiative.
That statement puts a spin on many people’s understanding of Taking Initiative, but doing your job well is not actually Taking Initiative. Improving the process of doing your job well might qualify as Taking Initiative.
Milton Berle says it well:
“If opportunity doesn’t knock – build a door.” – Milton Berle
Today, I want to address the fear of the Unknown, or the fear of the Known. The fear of what the result of Taking Initiative will be. There are some reasons why Taking Initiative is not as simple as I am probably making it out to be, such as:
1.) Company Policy – Maybe the company you work for, or the environment you find yourself frown at people who do things differently, or even worse punish them.
2.) Previous Bad Experience – Maybe you’ve been burnt or punished or had a terrible experience because you sincerely took initiative, and since then you are happy to be mediocre and average, not rocking the boat. (Don’t forget the boat will always be rocked. Taking Initiative might be a great anchor)
3.) Uncooperative Team Members – Taking Initiative can make you enemies (let’s be frank, it will make you enemies). I understand that, but so is success, so is doing well, so is diligence, and every good thing that one can do and so is not taking initiative.
4.) You can think of many more reasons too. Especially your own reasons why you have not been consistent in taking Initiative.
I found this research on the itstime.com website.
“According to a UCLA study, at age five, we engage in creative tasks 98 times a day, laugh 113 times, and ask questions 65 times. By the age of 44, however, the numbers shrink to 2 creative tasks a day, 11 laughs and 6 questions. Furthermore, the UCLA study found a 91% negative response rate among adults exposed to new ideas. Creativity and innovation flourish in an environment that encourages them to grow and to blossom, but all it takes is a frown or a negative word to shut them down completely.”
While I can’t speak for any company, team, environment or circumstance, I can echo the words of Abraham Lincoln:
“You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.” – Abraham Lincoln.
So if you find yourself in a situation where it seems Taking Initiative is not encouraged, I’ll advise the following 3 things:
1.) Still find ways to take initiative using the ‘Stones’ I’ll show you in this series. It will be a lot easier than you think.
2.) Create a different environment that will enable you take Initiative. Like Milton Berle said, ‘build a door’.
3.) Change environment to one that allows you to take Initiative.
You won’t survive in the ‘new world’ without learning to Take Initiative.
Don’t let your current environment force you to be the person that lacks initiative. You will regret it. (Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is true).
“Take stands, take risks, take responsibility.” – Muriel Siebert
This is your life, make it count.
In the remaining parts of this series, I will introduce and go into details the stepping stones to becoming a serial Initiative Taker.
I gave a presentation on Taking Initiative in the past week, and I want to share my slides with you. It shows you everything we’ll cover in the remaining part of this series. Enjoy it.
PS: You really want to see these slides. In fact, it’s probably a presentation you’ve never seen anything like it before. So ensure you check it out below and SHARE! There are social media buttons on the side to make sharing very easy.
PPS: Would you like to me to do this presentation for your company or organisation? Contact me here