Make Something Happen!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012 06:30
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In my personal and professional life, I've never regretted taking the initiative. Most have these efforts have been rewarding and successful, though not all of them have been so. Still, as Wayne Gretzky once said (who knew he was such a philopopher?), "You miss 100% of the shots that you don't take."

Taking the initiative requires courage and actively seking to make something new happen. It may also require the individual to assume some amount of risk. I have found that more than just about any other requires one to act decisively.

Make Something Happen!

My wife and I often enthusiastically cheer for our high school aged daughter Caroline and her soccer team from the stands. One of my favorite cheers is by now familar to her and others. I exhort her to "Make something happen!" More than just giving her best effort, I encourage her to try to make a difference in the action on the field. She usually responds well to this call (even though she will often roll her eyes and dismiss me as "very uncool").

In my professional life, everyday I work to make something happen. I routinely find that my business' success directly correlates to the degree with which I take initiative. I am guessing that most of you can relate to this.

Today's college students face uncertain employment prospects when they graduate. With this in mind, allow me to brag a bit on my son, David. I wish to relate his example of a young man who is taking initiative to create new possibilities for himself. as he helps to improve the college experience for his peers. It may offer some inspiration for you or someone you know.

While David is a good student, he recognizies that he faces considerable competition from other equally strong and/or stronger peers for academic and professional opportunities. Months ago, David had been acting as interim social chair at his fraternity. In this role, he was responsible for helping to create social events that would help build his fraternity's on-campus reputation, and in so doing, help attract appealing new recruits.

David wanted to organize a special event to kick off the pledging season to help his fratrernity to make "a big statement". So, he contacted the manager of Italobrothers, an emerging German techno band, and suggested to them that they consider a U.S. college tour with Miami University (his school) as the starting point. David made the case for how this would help the band build its profile in the U.S., and then proceeded to negotiate a deal with them to bring them to perform at Brick Street, the premier showplace in Oxford, Ohio.

Working in tandem with one of his fraternity brothers, and despite the absence of a "playbook" to guide them, they successfully managed every step in planning the event. The concert was a sellout and a huge morale builder for David's fraternity. Even more significantly, Brick Street's owner was so impressed by David's professionalism (and his ability to help fill his night club!), that he helped him to secure an internship with a prominent entertainment promotional company. It is far too soon for David to know whether he will wish to pursue this type of work professionally after he graduates. For now, he is developing valuable business skills, obtaining terrific experience, and is in a much stronger competitive position than he was just months ago. This, because he showed initiative and "made something happen."

Do you have a story to share about taking initiative? 


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