Initiative is defined as acting independently from outside influences and control. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with right action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.
You are the boss, the leader, the captain of the ship. There is no one to tell you what to do or how to do it. You must identify issues and take care of them. Your mission it to reach your goal, what ever that goal is. This will require you to take and show initiative every day in your business.
There will always be opportunities (issues, problems…) in your business. These “opportunities” will come in every size and shape you could imagine. Today it may be as simple as replacing some light bulbs or as complex as dealing with the expectations of a disgruntled customer. No matter what pops up, you, as the leader must act.
You may not have the skills and the tools required to resolve every issue, but you are responsible to take the initiative none the less. You must adapt, improvise and overcome. Either take care of it yourself, delegate the task to a qualified and empowered team member or you may need to hire an expert.
If you’re not sure exactly what needs to be done, don’t worry, “it” will come and find you. When it does, you will recognize it, then you must act quickly and decisively. Your initiative will make or break your business and it will set the tone and the pace for your team.
There is an old saying: “If it is going to be, it is up to me”. That is what initiative is all about. As a business leader you will have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate initiative. You may not always have the best solution and many times you will do the wrong thing. However, it is often worse to do nothing than to make a mistake that can easily be corrected. Mistakes are sometime our greatest teachers.
Today, not starting is far, far worse than being wrong. If you start, you’ve got a shot at evolving and adjusting to turn your wrong into a right. But if you don’t start, you never get a chance. – Seth Godin, Poke The Box
Initiative Build Trust and Confidence
Have you ever been around people, or worked for someone who talked a good game, but when it came down to it, nothing really ever got accomplished. There are few things more frustrating than sitting in a meeting, discussing critical business issues, making plans to move forward, then hauling off and doing nothing.
Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality of a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire. – T. Boone Pickins
Take the initiative and surround yourself with leaders who know how to take initiative. People want to follow someone that they can trust. Showing initiative builds others trust and confidence in you as a leader. Demonstrate initiative, and set an expectation for your team to do the same.
What opportunities for initiative popped up for you today? How did you respond?