1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work

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Bob Nelson, Ph.D., is president of Nelson Motivation, Inc., a founding board member of the National Association for Employee Recognition (NAER), and a bestselling author whose books on management and motivation have sold over 3 million copies and been translated into over 25 languages. Dr. Nelson lives and works in San Diego, California.

Bob Nelson has done it again! In this practical, timely book, he describes what employees can do to take more initiative in any job. Any employee (and supervisor, manager or owner) will find this book of enormous value! - Dr. Dean Spitzer, senior consultant, IBM Corporation, and author of SuperMotivation

"Bob Nelson's book shows how employees who take initiative not only create value for their organizations, but for themselves personally and professionally." - Dieter Huckestein, President, Hotel Division, Hilton Hotels Corporation

Whether you're an entry-level assistant or a VP working with the CEO, there's only one person responsible for your career--you. And here to help you realize your potential for success is management guru Bob Nelson, bestselling author of the 1001 Ways series. A unique motivational manual, 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work brings together hundreds of real-life examples, advice from business leaders, and the author's own techniques and exercises to show readers how to draw on inner creativity, develop self-leadership, set goals, take risks, and sell ideas.

"The biggest mistake you can make in life is to think you work for somebody else." -- Bob Nelson

TAKE ACTION--Elaine Crawford, a secretary at Johnsonville Foods, discovers an overlooked market segment, figures out how to reach it, pushers her idea through, and now runs a $3 million mail-order department.

QUESTION AUTHORITY--Feeling that the corporation is poorly managed, IBM programmer Jay Elliot writes a 20-page detailed letter to chairman Tom Watson, Jr.--and his career skyrockets.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX--Frustrated by bookmarks that keep falling out of his hymnal on Sundays, 3M engineer Art Fry creates the Post-It, today a $300 million business.

TRUST YOUR INTUITION--While still an administrative assistant at Zerox, Joanne Griffin senses opportunity in a project no one wants, directs a team to implement it, and is today a corporate Vice President of Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

1001 WAYS to Take Initiative at Work is about managing up--about employees taking ownership of their jobs, whether it's an assistant working for a manager or a VP working for the CEO. Third in the 1001 Ways series by bestselling business writer Bob Nelson, whose 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and 1001 Ways to Energize Employees have over 900,000 copies in print, TAKE INITIATIVE is the first management book for employees. Weaving together case studies, examples, quotes, research highlights, and the author's own "Tool Box" of management techniques and exercises, this practical handbook will show every reader how to develop self-leadership, set goals, create learning opportunities, take risks, build a team, sell ideas, and work both within and outside the larger organization. Taking initiative is about a former secretary at Johnsonville Foods who originated and now runs the company's thriving mail-order business. It's about a technical writer who created Xerox's popular "webmaster" website. And it's about you. As Bob Nelson proves, employees have much more power than they think--taking initiative is how to harness that power and reap its rewards. By the bestselling author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and 1001 Ways to Energize Employees, with over 900,000 copies in print.

Introduction to Part I

Employees who make the personal decision to strive for something more than just the status quo are the lifeblood of every successful organization today. Taking initiative is a key ingredient in making improvements at work, dealing with change, and providing customers with service that is far beyond their expectations.

Initiative is personal: the individual controls when, where, and how much initiative to take on the job. Even though its impact may be felt throughout an organization, initiative starts with the employee--and what he or she can do on a daily basis.

In a recent online survey by iVillage.com, employees were asked, "What is most important for getting ahead in the workplace?" Of the 7,760 people who cast their votes, 55 percent said that "initiative" is most important, followed by "inspiration" (17 percent), "intelligence" (16 percent), and "political savvy" (12 percent). (Comments about initiative taken from this survey are presented throughout this book.)

Although employees often recognize the importance of taking initiative, they may be hesitant to do so. Part I provides both ideas and inspiration for taking initiative on the job to overcome obstacles--real or perceived--that may be holding you back.

The chapters that follow provide a detailed overview of how you can take initiative, and in the process make a difference where you work. Whether it's tapping your inner creativity, taking needed action on a persistent problem, capitalizing on opportunities as they become available, or thinking up ways to improve your current work environment, the act of taking initiative will undoubtedly reenergize you, in addition to making your job much better and your organization more efficient and effective. By taking initiative, all employees can elevate their visibility within an organization and greatly improve their chances for recognition, learning, growth, pay raises, bonuses, and advancement for good performance.

By focusing on what you can rather than can't do, and emphasizing possibilities in your own sphere of influence, you'll increase your chances to not only have greater impact at work but develop your skills on a local basis before you apply them to a wider arena and obtain more lasting changes in your department, division, or organization.

Foreword by Dean Spitzer



Thinking Outside the Box

Be Your Own Boss: Seeing the Big Picture

Toolbox: Unleashing Employee Innovation and Creativity

Take Action Now! Personal Attributes for Initiative

Doing Your Homework

Be Your Own Boss: Learn from Your Mistakes

Toolbox: Systematic Problem Solving

Take Action Now! Identifying Your Organization's Culture, Values, and Norms

Taking Action/Capitalizing on Opportunities

Be Your Own Boss: Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

Toolbox: Attitude and Balance Are Important to Taking Action

Take Action Now! Tips for Being in Charge

Making Improvements

Be Your Own Boss: How to Make Suggestions Count

Toolbox: Selling Your Ideas to Others

Perseverance and Persistence

Be Your Own Boss: Choosing Your Peaks and Valleys

Toolbox: Managing Your Time

Take Action Now! Persistence Pays Off


Leadership and Influence

Toolbox: The Five Sources of Power and How to Use Them

Be Your Own Boss: What Makes a Leader?

Take Action Now! Leaders Influence Actions


Be Your Own Boss: How to Get Others to Help You

Toolbox: How to Have Influence in Meetings

Take Action Now! Communication and Networking Tips

Managing Up

Be Your Own Boss: How to Say No: A Story

Take Action Now! Secrets to Managing Up

Working in Teams

Be Your Own Boss: Deciding What's Important

Toolbox: Empowering Teams

Take Action Now! Tips for Teamwork

Above and Beyond

Be Your Own Boss: Putting Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes

Toolbox: Naive Listening

Take Action Now! Delivering Above and Beyond Service


Taking Charge of Your Career

Be Your Own Boss: How to Improve Your Marketability

Toolbox: Networking Made Easy

Toolbox: How to Ask for a Raise

Take Action Now! Planning for Advancement

Learning and Education

Be Your Own Boss: Deciding Your Career's Work

Toolbox: Ten Great Ways to Learn at Work

Take Action Now! Life-Long Learning

Developing Skills on the Job

Be Your Own Boss: Expressing Your Opportunity Interest

Toolbox: Cultivating a Mentor

Overcoming Obstacles

Be Your Own Boss: Seeing Challenges as Opportunities

Toolbox: Balancing Work and Family

Take Action Now! Strategies for Taking Initiative

Career Options

Be Your Own Boss: Constantly Search for Your Next Job

Toolbox: Simplifying Your Life

Take Action Now! Unlimited Opportunity


1. Index to Innovators

2. Index to Featured Companies

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1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work
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H203mm x B152mm x T14mm
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