Initiative: The ability to recognize and create opportunities and to act accordingly. Rather starting something than waiting passively for it to happen.
adopts a proactive attitude
is the first to come up with plans and ideas
creates and uses opportunities
does something he/she was not asked to do
makes proposals uninvitedly that might benefit the organization
presents new proposals and plans
observes opportunities and translates them into benefits for the organization
is not docile but proactive
attracts responsibilities and activities
mentions and discusses resistance where and when it occurs
searches actively for opportunities that might improve his/her services
recognizes beneficial opportunities in conversations
looks actively for solutions when facing a deadlock in a meeting
takes a clear position in unclear situations in which others do nothing; makes efforts to get out of an impasse
recognizes opportunities in work relationships in order to better position his/her own organization
recognizes useful and relevant contacts; approaches them accordingly to benefit his/her organization
recognizes long term opportunities for the organization and develops plans to use them accordingly
is active in networking and lobbies with the right people
presents proposals and plans to strategic partners for future activities
Initiative can be easily developed if the candidate has a more than average score (7,8,9) on the drives Ambition & challenges and Energy & action.
What has been your most original idea in your work? What have you done to implement this idea successfully?
Of which of your achievements are you most proud?
Which positive changes in your work have been predominantly your own idea?
What bothers you currently in your work? What are you going to do about it?
Have you made any proposals to your superior over the last month? Why (not)?
Be aware that you may have inhibiting thoughts or beliefs such as: “a leader should always take initiative,” “I am here to work, not to solve or prevent problems”.
If you think you see an opportunity, grab it.
Set yourself the goal of taking at least one initiative a day, write it in your planner to remind yourself of it.
If you see a problem that needs fixing, surprise your colleagues by taking an initiative even if it is not expected of you.
Try and exceed your client’s expectations by delivering a little extra service. Overdeliver and underpromise, rather than the other way around.
Encourage your candidate to take ‘small’ initiatives such as opening a meeting or offering an opinion, and to be alert to potential needs his team may have (coffee, fresh air, a flip-over et cetera).
Set goals together with your candidate. In what situations would he like to take more initiative? Make sure the goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely).
Encourage your candidate to ask others for 360º feedback regarding his initiative. What goes well and what could be improved? Discuss the results with the candidate.
Evaluate with your candidate in what situations he finds it hard to take initiative and in what he does.
Give your candidate an assignment to think about future opportunities for himself, for the department, products, or services. Which initiatives and responsibilities could he personally take in order to succeed?
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