Published monthly by Sharon Eakes, Hope Unlimited, LLC
Disciplines: Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

"Initiative is doing the right thing without being told."
Victor Hugo


I've been thinking about "initiative". Recently I joined the YMCA. Since I tend to get sluggish about exercise in the winter, I am proud of myself. I told a friend I'd "taken the initiative" for my health. (I've worked out 5 times, lifted 3,000 pounds today, and feel terrific! Endorphins are for real.)

The woman who signed me up at the Y also took initiative. Barbara was new at the information desk and she'd never signed up a new member - it isn't part of her job. Yet she saw there was a line and said, "I think I can help you." In the process she had to run and ask a couple of questions, but she did it just fine and I was grateful not to wait.

Robert Kelley, a Carnegie Mellon University Professor, did a landmark study of what it takes to be a star at work. (Read How To Be A Star At Work, 1998). "Demonstrating initiative" proved to be the most powerful skill that differentiated the intelligent, average worker from the super productive, star worker. Taking initiative doesn't mean just doing your job well. It means willingly moving out of your job description spheres to fill gaps. The most powerful initiatives benefit others.

Dr. Kelley's research showed that within two years on a job, star performers began to look for systemic problems to tackle. This higher-level systems perspective enabled them to take initiatives which solved a whole set of similar problems throughout an entire system.

Putting his research into practice, Dr. Kelley and colleagues began to teach the "star" strategies. They found that people could be taught to take more initiative, but that it required a shift of mind. People had to stop complaining about their jobs and begin looking for ways to take initiative.


1) Take some initiative that improves your life - join the Y, clean your basement, invite friends over.
2) If you want to be a star at work, begin to take initiative. "Do the right thing without being told."


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to share ideas about initiative, what it means and how to take more. Call Friday, February 4 at 12 noon EST (11:00 a.m. CST, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. PST)
1-425-818-9401 X925 No need to register....just call at that time!

Call me for a free phone coaching session. If you've been thinking about exploring coaching, the beginning of the year is the perfect time to do it!

As an avid kayaker, I enjoy the challenge and the rewards of finding the navigable parts of the stream, moving through them smoothly, taking care not to get stuck. In the same way, I help people navigate the complex waters of their lives, avoid getting stuck and enjoy the ride.
Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

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