12 essential abilities of extraordinary people
What is initiative?
As they say ‘journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step’. How true it is— unless you lift up your foot and take a step, how do you proceed further!? This happens in every little thing—a job or an assignment we need to accomplish. It is a quality which often differentiates between a leader and a follower. A leader moves first, takes the first step, urges others also to move whereas a follower waits for the leader to either push him or pull him along. Some people have a god’s gift of being in the front, take the lead wherever they go—they always show the way and take people along in the journey. Others would always remain in confines of their comforts, would never move on their own and have to be told or pushed even to follow the herd.
To a school child, initiative means doing something without being told to do so. A step further for them would be doing something which others either fail to do or do not attempt to do at all. Initiating something is what leadership is all about. The word leader means a person who leads, who is in front and who obviously takes the first step always. In schools, there are children who will take the initiative to start a small charity campaign for the poor. A group of children would be the first ones to think about it without the teacher telling them to do so. And that group may be having a master mind ‘the initiator’ who ‘thought’ about it and ‘motivated’ four to five of his friends, who further motivated the rest of the class.
Initiative always begins with a thought. A few boys in the college decide to organise a blood donation camp. It is the first thought that matters. Somebody says, ‘why don’t we organise a blood donation camp’ and that is the most important thing to say. After the thought takes shape of a concrete plan, people start doing value addition or adding value, contributing towards the success of the idea. For instance, once the blood donation camp is on, a group of students decide to take it further to nearby schools and colleges, and ask for volunteers to join in. This suddenly makes the number of donors five times the expected number from their single college! This is a real value addition to the blood donation camp.
Now, this same boy who started blood donation in the college, becomes a successful manager eventually. He then asks a question, ‘Hey, why don’t you we start a group insurance scheme for our employees?’ He thus, initiates an idea and then
works towards its execution. Once the scheme is launched, another employee says, ‘Why don’t we include the families also and give them the insurance cover? This way, we will be able to get a better deal and also do good to all the employees.’ This is a value addition to their initial plan! cluster of initiative. There are some qualities which are related to initiatives and value addition. This is the cluster of related qualities.
constructivequality dedicatedenergetic enthusiasticdynamic decisive risk taker captain intelligent aiming high craving for knowledge charismatic
courageousproactivevisionary assertive responsible motivated confidence trend-setter good learner fast thinking value enhancer fair sighted killer instinct
team player volunteer accountable innovator pathfinder bold and confident perfection gratitude originality analytical ability contributor futuristic spontaneous
‘The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.’
Many times, people react and don’t pro-act. Being proactive means taking action without anybody telling you to do it or without acting against a problem that has cropped up. The trick to work better is to start acting before a problem starts, which means recognising your responsibility to make certain things happen, and be prepared to handle the problem before it becomes unmanageable.
Even if there is an existing problem, do we sit back and keep looking at the problem? Do we keep cursing the problem? Or do we get up and find a solution to that problem? You need to get hold of the problem first and shake it up before the problem gets hold of you and shakes you up instead. Proactive people create more proactive people and thereby create a proactive culture—a culture where people don’t sit over the problems but get up and take charge and get moving.
Therefore, think proactive, think of taking initiatives and speak proactive and speak of taking initiatives. Instead of saying, ‘I may be able to do it’, say ‘I will be able to do it’. Instead of saying, ‘There is nothing much I can do’, say ‘Let us see what all I can do’.
going that extra mile
Taking initiatives is one thing and getting the job done is another thing. Thereafter, doing a dash extra is what the ultimate test is for a go-getter. Great people have the habit of or even develop the habit of doing that extra thing with gradual efforts. Any fool can do what he is told to do. Therefore, managers manage to do what is required to be done, whereas leaders do what is not usually done. They do the unusual—out of the box thing—that extra zing, that extra topping, that unexpected act, that unanticipated thing, that out of the way thing, that off-beat thing. And they are the first ones to do it, that’s why they are the initiators.
Proactive people create more proactive people and thereby create a proactive culture— a culture where people don’t sit over the problems but get up and take charge and get moving.
Virender Kapoor Bloomsbury
2016, ₹399, 280 pgs, Paperback