12 es­sen­tial abil­i­ties of ex­tra­or­di­nary peo­ple

The Smart Manager - - Reading Room - By viren­der kapoor

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.’

-Mark Twain

be­ing proac­tive

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

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