Initiating Action


Taking prompt action to accomplish objectives; taking decisive action to achieve objectives in times of uncertainty or in fluid contexts; being proactive. Click here for associated skills and behaviors.

Ways to Demonstrate this Skill

Development Activities

         When you are asked to make a change in your work, figure out how do it, decide what can be done now, and put it into action.

         Make a list of things that you know need to be done that you have been procrastinating. Schedule yourself to initiate at least one of them this week and finish it before the end of next week. Then pick a more challenging one and schedule a realistic but challenging start and completion date.

         Identify things that are likely to change about your job in the next year (new Information System, new responsibilities, new processes or procedures) and plan how you can modify your work to absorb the change.


         Next time there is a proposed change in your office, volunteer to organize the change effort. Then do what you offered to do, within a short time-frame.


         Volunteer to assist another person who is currently leading a task force or managing a change initiative, and use the experience to help you initiate and lead the next one.

         Look at the processes and procedures in your office/work unit and find one you think should be improved.  Find a way to make it more effective or more efficient.

         Make a list of processes and procedures in your office/work unit that could be improved. List what you think is wrong with them.  For each, list at least three things you could do to make them better. Next, pick one and take the actions you identified to improve it.



Developmental Resources


     If you find workshops and/or web-based training a good way for you to learn and develop, and there are funds available, look for opportunities that address the following:

         Overcoming procrastination or hesitancy to act.

         Taking initiative and encouraging others to take action.

         Planning and managing projects.



     The following books are resources on initiating action:

     Allen, David (2002) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. S&S Sound Ideas.

     Fiore, Neil A. (1989). The NOW Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination. J.P. Tarcher.

     Haynes, Marion E. (2002). Project Management: Practical Skills for Success. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications (

     Levinson, S. & Greider, P.C. (1998). Following Through: A Revolutionary New Model for Finishing Whatever You Start. Kensington Pub. Corp.

     Morgenstern, Julie (2000) Time Management From the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule and Your Life. Publisher: Henry Holt

     Tracy, Brian. (2001). Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Kohler.

     Tracy, Brian. (2001). Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals. AMACOM.




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