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INITIATIVE is a rare trait

Take the initiative ... I hear this often but seldom see it in action. I wish I would see the term "Initiative" more often on the list of individual Leadership skills.

Like an objective without a plan is just a wish, seeing an opportunity to leverage without taking initiative becomes a lost opportunity.

To invoke initiative requires confidence and knowing you have strong support network around you.

Initiative can get stifled easily. You have the desire but then you embark on getting approval before commencing, This often then turns into discussions, committee meetings and every reason why this is not a good idea ultimately deferring or killing the project.

When you show initiative, you do things without being told; you find out what you need to know; you keep going when things get tough; and you spot and take advantage of opportunities that others pass by. You act, instead of reacting, at work. Most of us have seen initiative in action.

To use the phrase "it is better to seek forgiveness and then ask for approval" is a key mind concept to remember when you take initiative. If you have faith in then concept, guarantee that it will deliver the results you desire. If not, then change the process until it does deliver your desired intentions.

The other mantra of "Initiative" is 1) Lead, 2) Follow or 3) get the heck out of the way. My experience is that when you decided to show initiative very quickly you will get others to jump on the band wagon to help and promote what you are attempting to accomplish.

Initiative skills refer to your ability to assess a situation and take action without direction from someone else.

When I took the initiative to start our Supplier Consortium, I was well into the dynamics to networking within supplier network when our President showed up and I was very nervous. He quickly told me that working closely with our suppliers in non-confrontational manner just made sense and he could not believe our results. What we had been unable to standardize within our own organization became Consortium Standards because they just made sense and delivered.

In another instance we were on a strict Headcount budget. My team was unable to get all of our regular task completed in a timely manner. With necessity being the inventor of innovation, I once again turned to my Supplier Community and asked them to learn about Material Resource Planning and come to our facility to conduct the planning on their parts ... in essence to create Purchase Orders on themselves.

The screams from accounting were terrifying. How could I let a supplier perform their own planning "they are going to change the pricing in their favor." My response, "No" since we track our Purchase Price Variance we will no immediately if the price does change. Well it did but all of them down.

Then Accounting screamed that the Suppliers would inundate us with excess inventory. If they did it would only be a short-term victory on their part since I would purchase more until we had consumed what we had, plus we had put in place some pretty solid planning points for max, min inventory levels.

We work with a lot of client partners, and I wish I could just inject them with a dose of Initiative. They continue to drag their feet on seizing an opportunity, sometimes for years. Ultimately who loses is the organization who is unable to leverage the initiative. But the bigger loser is the individual who failed to take the initiative because they failed to show confidence and leadership. I think through my career the people I promoted were those that showed and took initiative.

Initiative is a self-management skill. Purposeful self-management can help you set goals independently, achieve significant accomplishments that ultimately direct the trajectory of your career.

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