Ask or Act? The Different Levels of Initiative

Ask or Act? The Different Levels of Initiative by Laura Stack #productivity

“When you believe in what you're doing and use your imagination and initiative, you can make a difference.”—Samuel Dash, American law professor and chief council of the Senate Watergate Hearings in 1974. For decades—in article after article, book after book—business and motivational writers have urged you to take more initiative in your work. They tell you it’s the only real way to become 100% committed to your organization and “own” your job. High engagement ensures high productivity, as long as you make sure you maintain a healthy work/life balance. I think most business leaders genuinely believe this. But we must be doing something wrong, because time and time again, pollsters point out that fewer than 35% of white collar employees are fully engaged, with another 50% not engaged an … [Read more...]

Making Things Happen: Why Initiative Matters

Making Things Happen: Why Initiative Matters by Laura Stack

At least monthly, an audience member will come up to me after a presentation and say something to the effect of, “I love your ideas but hesitate to try anything new, because I’ll irritate my boss or coworkers.” Despite all the research and words we've expended pointing out that engaged team members are more productive, some leaders still enforce the old my-way-or-the-highway attitude. They don't see (or don't care) that unhappy, bored people have low productivity, so they just push them harder, further damaging their performance. Many employees want to help improve processes for the better, but often others aren’t willing to try anything new.   Even some leaders who know there's a better way often hesitate to make changes, because their own leaders remain stuck in the past. But l … [Read more...]