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Morning Mindset with Paul G. Markel


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Feb 12, 2018

Initiative is taking action even though you haven't been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.


Episode Transcription

[INTRO]

♫ Trenches by Pop Evil ♫

*Alex*

Welcome to Morning Mindset. A daily dose of practical wit and wisdom with a professional educator & trainer, Amazon best selling author, United States Marine, Television and Radio host, Paul G. Markel. Each episode will focus on positive and productive ways to strengthen your mindset, and help you improve your relationships, career goals, and overall well-being. Please welcome your host; Paul G. Markel.


*Professor Paul*

Ok guys let’s charge right ahead and keep on going with the Marine Corps Leadership Traits.  Yesterday we talked about dependability. Alright, and I hope that by this time you are sensing a pattern and that maybe you are taking the time to write these down on a notepad or create some flashcards for yourself, or what have you. As I mentioned previously, all of the Leadership Traits are discussed in my book Patriot Fire Team Manual, in the chapter on Leadership.

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Imagine that *laughter*, and you can get that as a paperback, or if you want to have it on your phone or your iPad, or whatever it is you look at everyday, go to Kindle and type in Paul G Markel and the book is the Patriot Fire Team Manual, download it, put it on there, *finger snap* boom, leadership. Especially, as we mentioned before, if you are the person who owns a business, if you have a business and you have employees, and especially if you have supervisors that are supervising various number of employees, this may be an excellent way for you to sit down and to coach your supervisors on their Leadership Traits.

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Because you don’t want supervisors that are just bosses. You don’t want people just cracking the whip and saying “DO IT”, you know, this is not a galley with slaves that all have oars and we’re rowing them to the beat of the drum and the crack of the whip. We’re talking about having people that can actually LEAD others. Today we’re going to talk about initiative. Initiative is taking action even though you haven’t been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action.

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It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods available to you.  Oh my goodness.  The Marine Corps is, especially the infantry, and whether it’s Army infantry, Marine Corps infantry, what have you, infantry is all about initiative. Hmmm.  And you’ll forgive me if I take a sip of water while I’m doing this.  I’d like to do it in one cut, one take, without having to break it up so we have good continuity.

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So initiative.  What do you base your initiative on and how do you have, or exercise, good initiative? Well, one of the ways is by having good mentors and good coaches, by having experience and education.  So when you encounter a situation, it’s not something that is daunting or overwhelming.  You see that and you’re like “Okay, this is a problem. This is a situation that needs to be corrected.  Now, I haven’t been given specific orders to correct the situation, or maybe I haven’t been given directives”.

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How many of you have ever worked in a place where the employees exercised no initiative at all? They go to work, and let’s say you’re in a manufacturing plant, or an assembly plant, or shipping, or whatever, and they encounter a problem.  They can’t go forward until the problem is solved. The employees say, “Well, I’m just an employee. I don’t have the authority to fix this problem, so I’m going to go over here and smoke a cigarette until somebody comes along and tells me what to do. I’m going to over here and sit in a chair and play on my phone until someone comes along and gives me specific directives”.

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How many times have you ever been in your workplace, and people get there and they don’t have a specific plan of the day, or a plan of the day has not been issued or approved yet, so instead of just doing what needs to be done, or exercising some initiative, straightening up, doing….I don’t care, they just stand around?  Is that the kind of employees you want? No. Is that the kind of supervisors you want? No

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If you have people that are working for you, whether they’re children or whether…. You’re a coach... *Is anyone out there a coach?*.... and the coach is on the way to practice and the coach has a flat tire, right.  He can’t get there until the tire gets fixed, or whatever, but everyone is just standing around on the field.  Now, there should be somebody there that says “You know what, I don’t know why the coach is late, car problems, or some personal problem, but we’re all here, let’s get the gear out, let’s start running plays, let’s start throwing passes, let’s start warming up, let’s do some… whatever”.

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The fact is, you want people to take the initiative and you want them to take the initiative based upon their education, their experience, and what they know should be done. Remember what we talked about yesterday, about dependability and how dependability is like a super power.  Let me tell you what, same thing with initiative.  If you are a supervisor, maybe you’re just a mid level supervisor, you have one shift and there’s four people that work for you. The owner, or the boss, or the overall operations manager comes to you and they’re like “Hey, what did you do?” and you say, “Well, I encountered this problem and I knew how to fix it, and I knew it would need to be done, so we took care of it, did it, and now it’s done.”

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Let me tell you what, that manager is going to think you are a great guy, or a great girl. Because in today’s world, what do people do? “Well, nobody told me to do anything, so I’m just going to stand here. I get paid the same”.  Is that what you want from your supervisors, from your employees?  Just to stand around and wait?  No, you don’t obviously.

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So, what does the Marine Corps suggest as ways to improve your initiative and your abilities?  To improve your initiative, work on staying mentally and physically alert.  Be aware of things that need to be done, then do them without having to be told.  Wow. *chuckle* Again, like a super power.  If you want to achieve in this world, if you want to be recognized for your achievements, if you want people to recognize you for your abilities, you say “Aw man, I’ve been at this job for so long, you know”, this is where a gut check comes in.

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This is the gut check. We talked about this at the very beginning.  Every once in a while you have to be able to do an honest, no kidding gut check. Maybe where you are, you feel that you should have been promoted by now. You should be getting paid more money. You should have more authority. I would say to you, “When was the last time you exercised initiative? Good, solid initiative? You weren’t told, you weren’t directed.”

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And many times the person who, how many times, like for instance, the General or the Colonel is not in the trenches with the men.  The General or the Colonel is not in the field with the men. Something may occur that the General is completely and totally unaware of. Same thing with an operations manager at a facility or a plant. You have an operations manager.  They’re not necessarily on the floor, they’re not necessarily in the offices or the trenches with the people and they don’t even know that the situation is a problem, or has become a problem.

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Or maybe they don’t have the insight to see that like you do, because everyday you’re seeing and encountering these certain situations. So you take the initiative. You fix it, you repair it, you do whatever needs to be done. Then you go forward and say “Hey, this was an issue, this was slowing down our productivity, this was slowing down our ability to meet the mission, we took care of it, and this is how we took care of it, and I want to let you know.”

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*Chuckle* If you can do that for a manager, if you can do that for someone who is in charge of you, again, exercise in super powers. But, if you are complaining that you’re not being given the proper due or the proper respect or the proper amount of money, or whatever, I would ask you “Are you taking initiative? Or, are you that guy that just says ‘well, until I’m told to do it, I’m just going to stand over here and look at my phone, I’m going to go out back and smoke a cigarette and when you guys are ready, you let me know’.” That’s not initiative.

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Ladies and gentlemen, J.J. Did Tie Buckle. The D and the I. The D is dependability, the I is initiative. To improve your initiative, work on staying mentally and physically alert. Pay attention to what’s going on around you and what needs to be done. Be aware of things that need to be done and do them before you’re told. Like I said, once again, in our modern world of ‘I’m not doing anything until I’m specifically directed to do it’. In that world, if you exercise initiative, brothers and sisters that’s like a super power!

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Okay.  I think that’s all we have to say about this. Remember that the entire J.J. Did Tie Buckle the Marine Corps Leadership Traits can be found in the Patriot Fire Team Manual. It’s available as paperback or kindle. You can get them anytime you want because that’s the beauty of our modern world. *Chuckle* So, go ahead and do that if you would like. If not, just pay attention each and every day.  We’re going to be back tomorrow and we’re going to talk about decisiveness. Decisiveness. Until then remember I am your host Paul Markel, and we will talk again real soon.


[OUTRO]

♫ Trenches by Pop Evil ♫

*Alex*

Thank you for spending time with us today. To get show notes, submit a topic request, for more from your host Paul G. Markel, visit MorningMindsetPodcast.com. That’s MorningMindsetPodcast.com. Please leave a review of this podcast on your favorite podcast player, we appreciate your time & effort, and we look forward to reading your honest feedback.