• James Walton

3 Questions to Amplify Your Initiative

The quickest way to establish your reputation in an organization as a high-potential leader is to show initiative. Being good enough at your job to have bandwidth to offer more, invest more, and accomplish more is a proven strategy for upward mobility.

But be mindful of the forces competing against initiative.

  • Organizational inertia means there's an established commitment to things remaining the way they are. You can have stability or you can have growth, and some choose stability.

  • Organizational politics means there's an established inner circle who are mutually invested in their own success, despite the consequences the organization as a whole may experience.

  • Organizational resources means there's a limited amount of time, money and attention to spread around.

You'll increase your chance of success when pitching a new initiative if you proactively address these obstacles. You can do so by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Where is the company (or department or team) getting stuck currently? Where's the friction coming from? If you can tie your initiative to a direct business problem and show the value of addressing it, you'll help overcome inertia.

  • Whose support do I need to have ahead of time? Assuming there's no vendetta against you, workshop your idea with influencers in your area. Allow them to speak into the process and provide early feedback, thus helping them feel as though this idea is also their own. If you can secure a supportive coalition, you'll help overcome politics.

  • What's the minimum investment for viability? Define the costs of money and time required to be invested before you can arrive at a go/no-go decision. Have an answer to the question: what assumptions need to prove true in order for this to work? Create phases of your initiative to show the milestones that need to be hit before more resources are allocated. If you can demonstrate a thoughtful business case, you'll help overcome limited resources.

Take initiative. And take it wisely.


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