Yeah! What she says!

Yeah! What she says!

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Importance Of Initiative

Many of you realize that to be successful in life you have to have a certain amount of initiative. If you don't, then you are delegated grunt work, and will have no opportunity for advancement above your current station. The problem, as I see it, is that so many, do not have any initiative. It is a constant thorn in my side at work for example.

In the case of one co-worker, whom I love dearly, her story may be that she has been in a place that stifled her initiative so long that she has forgotten how to use it. We are working on that, and it is getting better. Prior to working with her on it, she was unable to make any decision on her own. If the computer wasn't doing what she wanted it to, she would call me. At first I thought it was a lack of computer knowledge, or a fear that she would break it, but when I was called to fix the same problem (one our systems seem to like to throw our direction almost daily), after showing her numerous times, I finally broke down and said something. It went something like this:

"You have watched me do this several times right?"
"You think you can do it this time and see how well you do?"
"I don't think I am allowed to."
"Hon, you are only quiting out of the program and reloading it. You quit every night before you leave, and restart every morning when you come in..."
"I know..."
"You can do this, and no one is going to get mad at you. Sometimes you have to take the initiative and just do things"

That was a very simplistic example, but one that surprised even me. Another, is one that really makes it known that initiative is lacking. We work as customer service representatives for a international distribution company. When the customer calls, and has a problem, you have to take care of it. You have to make decisions sometimes without speaking to management. I have no problem with this. If I make the wrong decision, I only make it once, and I will tell management well, none of you were present at the time and the decision only seemed fair. Since I never promised the customer anything too extravagant, this has never been a major issue. I have been trying to impart my so-worker with a lot of this as well. We are getting there.

Again that was a small issue in the scheme of the world. There are other places in the world where initiative is something needed to handle much larger problems. These are the times when it is needed most, but times when it seems to be sorely lacking. Take for example, the events that were written about by Michael Yon, who is currently in Iraq. He writes:

I have been with LTC Fred Johnson for several days. LTC Johnson seems to recharge on sunlight or moonlight and can run a man into the ground. After seeing the humanitarian need building with no action to abate it underway, Johnson was very unhappy. He immediately started jerking choke chains on the people who are supposed to be handling humanitarian need, trying to avert having it build into a crisis.

This is where the inept local Iraqi commanders come in. I’ve seen them in meeting after meeting, over the past few days, finding ways to be underachievers. The Iraqi commanders have dozens of large trucks and have only to drive to our base to collect the supplies and distribute those supplies to the people displaced in the battle. Our troops are fully engaged in combat, yet the Iraqi leaders were not able to carry that load without LTC Johnson supplying the initiative.

You see the problem here? Michael goes on to say, that in other places in Iraq where he has been this has not been a major problem.

I also saw a video the other night at Hot Air that had a video up of American troops in Afghanistan that were have the same trouble with the locals. You can go here to watch the video. Watch for the part regarding building flood walls in villages. It is interesting to see that the local people don't care to take the initiative to build them, even when the supplies to do so are given to them. The simply say, we are poor. I particularly like the response from the American on the matter.

The point is, people lack initiative, or maybe it is partly entitlement, but which ever it is, it doesn't work. People need to be able to become informed, and do for themselves. This, in my opinion, needs to occur no matter what the circumstances. If you don't feel you are informed enough to make the decision or take the first steps, then get that way. You will a lot better off.

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