Word-Of-the-Week #631: Improvement

September 7, 2016 by  

Improvement – a change for the better; progress in development.

Have you ever offered suggestions for ways to improve processes at work? Do you have any ideas on how your company could save money and reduce costs? How persistent are you when faced with obstacles or difficulties in getting something done?

This week is the follow up to last week’s LA Times article by Joyce E.A. Russell, “The best way to advance your career: Take initiative.” We continue on with,

“Other ways you can show initiative:

  • Be on the lookout for how to improve what you are doing. As Victor Hugo said, “Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.”
  • Offer suggestions for ways to improve processes at work. Volunteer to follow through with your ideas.
  • Offer ideas for how the firm can save money and reduce costs.
  • Come prepared. Show that you did the reading to be well-informed before you meet with a client or offer a suggestion. In those slow periods at work, read up on things, take training classes or look for ways to get more informed about the firm and its businesses.
  • Show persistence when faced with obstacles or difficulties in getting something done. A person who shows initiative rarely has a defeatist attitude.
  • Check out Bob Nelson’s book, “1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work.”

a-improveIn addition to showing initiative at work, you may also be asked about how you have shown initiative in a job interview. Be prepared to answer this question.

First, think about what employers are trying to learn about you with this question. They really want to know if you are able to identify opportunities to make improvements and then followed up on those, if you came up with your own ideas and were able to implement them, and what the end results were.

I’ve known some students who have done incredibly well answering these questions because they were very active in their programs by creating new clubs or programs when they saw needs or gaps. The same goes for employees who spotted opportunities to improve customer relations and then came up with ideas and shared them with management.

If you are one of those employees who can show initiative on the job, you will clearly stand out. As Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, once said, “There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”

Which type of person will your colleagues and bosses say you are?

And this just in! My great nephew Colin wanted to be a leader at school but did not see a class office he wanted to run for. So he took initiative and went to the teachers and staff of his school and said, “I want to create a new office, Student Chairman of Academics.” They said yes. He ran and won. (unopposed) Colin thinks outside the box. Pretty cool for a 12 year-old, huh?

This week’s focus is on improvement. Do you come to work prepared and well-informed? Do you look for ways on how to improve what you are doing? Are you able to identify opportunities to make improvements and then follow up on them? Have you found a need for creating a new program like Colin?

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