initiative

I remember a great news mentor of mine telling me a great storytellers can find a yarn in anything and anyone, even in that biro sitting on your desk.

No truer word was spoken.

Every person, every product, every place has a story if you’re prepared to dig.

The lesson this young wet behind the ears journo was being taught was not only how important it was to be curious and get better at asking the right questions, but also to show some initiative. The biro isn’t going to jump off the table and make it easy for you. It’s up to you to do the work and put some grunt into it.

These days there is more of an emphasis than ever on working as a team, and this I grant you is fundamental to the success of any organisation in any field.

But I wonder if this understandable emphasis on team is making people impotent to demonstrating real initiative?

There will always be those of us prepared to push the envelope, to propel our businesses and our clients’ businesses forward with innovative ideas, thinking outside the square. And I understand there are naturally conservative types who are reticent to make decisions especially those that contain mitigated risks.

But that’s no excuse for thinking for yourself, for trying to nut out the solution to a problem before putting it back onto someone else to help solve for you.

The KDPR way is to always think about what could be the solution to a problem before bringing it to the team, a philosophy I strongly believe is the best way for young people to learn their profession backed by the support of their senior colleagues. To attempt to find the answer, rather than coming back with more problems.

It is a fundamental skill in any profession to be able to think for yourself. To find the answer yourself. To have a go at getting it right.

And yet, I can’t tell you how many job inquiries I get via LinkedIn / Twitter / Facebook with people asking my email address or KDPR’s street address.

Google my name and pretty much my entire history comes up, from speeches and articles over the years and if you put a tiny effort in, you’ll even find clips of me news reading in the 1990s.* (*searching this is not recommended)

As for finding my email address, work address, and the correct spelling of my name, it does not require forensic research.

There may not be an “i” in team work, but there’s four of them in “initiative”. I think the lesson is time to stop passing the buck. It’s up to you.