How Go-Getters Win and No-Getters Wait. Initiative Means Not Asking Permission

Some managers run departments that never seem to have any problems. We all know there are always problems, but this manager is blessed with a problem-solving team that has Go-Getter initiative. Other managers run departments that have nothing but problems. These managers are cursed with a team that finds a problem for every solution. They have a team of No-Getters.

In 1899 Elbert Hubbard told the story on one such go-getter in “A Message to Garcia.” It is a story of initiative and ability in which a common man named Rowan must deliver a critical message to a military leader in Cuba. What makes Rowan so amazing is that he only required the task to act. The only instructions he received was, “Deliver this letter to Garcia. We do not know his whereabouts, only he is hiding in the mountains” and off Rowan went.

Rowan doesn’t ask “How should I find him?” or “Where was he last seen?”. He doesn’t ask about the fastest route or for a list of people that may know him. He doesn’t complain about how hard it will be or that he is working with such limited information and resources. He doesn’t say “That’s not my job.” Rowan simply takes the letter, accepts the assignment and finds the answers himself. He takes the initiative.

Initiative means taking action when the problem or challenge is anticipated on the horizon, instead of waiting to be asked to fix it. Many aspiring workers wait to be told to act and internally believe they have done their boss a favor when they complete the task. The favor would have existed if action was taken before it ever fell into the boss’ hands. Here is a tip: The boss was wondering why he had to tell you to fix it. It’s not a favor.

“Top performers solve problems before they are problems. If someone has to ask, its already too late” Craig Bryan

Don’t worry about getting credit. We spend so much time worrying about getting credit. In time people will notice that problems do not surround you. That your work gets done. That you are dependable and reliable. Your work will speak towards your qualities. Play the long game and let your reputation speak for you.

What separates Go-Getters from No-Getters? Go-getters do not wait to be told to solve a problem. They see opportunities. Go-getters go to the top, go to the C-Suite, and go on to live happy and successful lives.

No-getters wait to get “picked” by the boss to solve a problem. If you work around a Go-getter, you will never get picked. You will never get picked because the task will already be completed. No-getters get no raises, no promotions, and no respect.

How can you be a Go-Getter on your team?

“A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.” ― Banksy, Wall and Piece

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