in Career Development, Improvement & Development, Leadership, Leading People, Leading Projects, Leading the Self

Thriving By “Initiating”, “Creating” and “Improving”

The most memorable things in our career are the ones we initiated. People love saying, “I was the one who started the NY office” or “I defined the testing processes here” or “I bought our first consulting assignment” or “I started it from scratch”. During the hiring process, I encounter a number of people who cherish what they had built at their previous assignments.

We, as humans, crave for meaning. Our deeper satisfaction comes from “creating” something, “improving” the stuff and making a larger difference to the organization or people.

What it means for business leaders

  • Identify people who are keen to make a difference.
  • People who demonstrate active thinking about work.
  • Involve them in strategic and tactical initiatives (either as a part of their primary KRA or as a part-time initiative).
  • Explain them the importance of that initiative for the organization.
  • Train them, if needed, to think from a ”possibility” standpoint”. (Read this GREAT story)
  • Review progress and ask open-ended questions to provoke thinking.
  • Let them run with those initiatives, but stay in loop to do course correction when needed.
  • Validate the person and his/her thinking process.
  • Recognize and reward the participation.

What it means for you as a “personal leader”

  • Look at the current gaps within your organization.
  • Gaps in operations, gaps that directly impact your work or areas where nothing exists.
  • Those are your opportunities to initiate something meaningful.
  • Talk to your immediate peers about what you can do to fill those gaps.
  • Discuss, ideate and brainstorm with your immediate superior. (You can also find a workplace mentor to help you.)
  • Take charge and commitment from the senior management.
  • Draw out a plan with ideas, possible constraints and approach.
  • Validate your plan with others – seek support.
  • Execute the plan and review the progress.
  • Track the impact of your initiative.


The degree of our satisfaction depends on the degree of our contributions to the organization. By simply “doing-as-directed”, you may survive at best. But to thrive, flourish and grow, you have to think beyond the obvious and see possibilities. Initiate things. Follow them through. Deliver drastic improvements. Fill in the gaps. Bring about a big difference. Be memorable.

Have a great start into the week!

  1. Absolute kick up dose to start a new week! It’s very rightly said that there’s no worth being machines by doing as directed – that’s actually just meeting work expectations. Anyone at any level can do that. What matters is to cover that extra mile ahead to lead and initiate. Work satisfaction can only be at heights if one strives to initiate right things at right place and right time – end results doesn’t matters here.

    One important point to conclude my notes – sometimes if initiatives are repeatedly put down, try to be patient to understand it’s root cause and constantly keep motivating yourself for not stopping. You never know when one initiation of your’s can drive the world to follow your footsteps.

  2. Taking initiative in any task requires daring. We always give others a chance to initiate and try to remain at the backfoot. Many times in a meeting, after the orator has finished his speech, he asks whether anyone has any questions. At that time we wait and see who initiates and once anyone has initiated, questions start coming out.

    I am glad to share one initiation which me and my friends started during our post graduation. We were in our final year of MCA and we thought that we should have a small library sort of thing in which senior students who are willing to donate their books can donate. The books were really costly (around Rs.400 – 450 per book). As a result, juniors who were not in a condition to buy each and every book, can borrow books from this library and after their semester can return back. And we are happy that the library is still going on. We learnt a very important lesson from this initiative that full dedication is required to make any task successful.

    Till this date, our batch (MCA 2006 passouts) is being remembered for starting this noble initiative 🙂

    • Hi Amit – Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Fear is our strongest emotion and we fear failure the most. When we ask questions, we fear if we would ask stupid ones. People who don’t initiate things are people who fear failure.

      The first pre-requisite of initiating something is to feel strongly about it. When you care enough for an area of work, you initiate improvements. When you feel about something, listen to your intuition and act on it. All leadership starts with fully expressing yourself.

      I am so glad that you have your share of initiating something meaningful. Why not replicate the same at the workplace? I am sure if you do, you will build similar memorability within the organization you work with.

      Good luck!


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