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Initiative Starts With an "I"

A few months ago my team moved to a new floor in our building. The first time I washed my hands in the restroom, I was sprayed all over my shirt because the water pressure was way too high. Since we were new to the floor, I assumed this would get fixed.

After months of getting sprayed and occasionally joking about it with others -- and after another colleague saying someone should put in a request -- I had enough! I tried to find out how to request this get addressed. I attempted to find out how but after a few tries, I gave up.

Fast forward to today. I am still getting sprayed. Enough. I was determined to get this fixed. I found the right person to talk to, opened a ticket, and am getting this fixed!

This reminded me of a time when I came into the office and for some reason, the door was screeching very loudly. I immediately went to the kitchen, grabbed some spray butter, and sprayed the hinges! Problem fixed! When others saw me do this, they gave me a standing ovation!!

So, in both stories, what separates me from the rest? Why didn't anyone else step up? Why didn't I take the same approach with the sink as I did the squeaky door? It all comes down to initiative...and it starts with an “I”!

What about you? Got a squeaky door in your life? Are you leaving something undone that needs to be addressed -- perhaps a conversation that needs to be had or a task that needs to be done but no one is stepping up to? Here is some encouragement to get you to take that first step.

Grab the Butter!

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to just do it yourself. Make sure you know what you're doing and you aren't breaking protocol or creating risk. Pick up the phone, set up that meeting, grab your keys, and go. You've known what needs to be done, so get to it!

Do Your Homework!

Knowing the history can be crucial. Who is involved? What is the need? Why the delays? Are there any reputations on the line? Is there any cost associated? What's the potential downside?

Get Out of Your Own Way!

Be honest… are you feeling fear and/or anxiety when you consider taking the initiative? Why? Too often the fear of failure or rejection keeps us silent. This can't be you. Being a leader requires a healthy appetite for risk. You don't have to be a manager or have a fancy title to be a leader. Change your perspective -- taking the initiative will create an opportunity to be recognized, not criticized.

Get an Entourage!

Sometimes you gain credibility when you have an entourage. Sometimes this is a friend, a colleague, your team, or a subject matter expert. Be careful -- sometimes bringing in numbers can be intimidating to whomever you are working with or talking to. Use your best judgment.

Sometimes a little initiative goes a long way. Step out. Be a change-maker. Be a leader. Say what needs to be said. Do what needs to be done. Rise up and take the initiative -- you may just get a standing ovation!