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Deciding What’s Important

February 2, 2000
Related Topics: Featured Article
Whenever you decide to take initiative at work, it's important to first weigh the impact of doing so against all the other alternatives available to you. While some initiatives can have tremendous impact on the organization's bottom line, others may have little or no impact on the company or your co-workers. Use the following guidelines as you decide where to concentrate your own efforts:

  1. What effect does your initiative have on the organization's bottom line, mission, or strategic objectives? Rank your initiatives based on how strongly they contribute to increasing your organization's revenues and profit. If you work for a nonprofit organization, consider which initiatives will help you most directly achieve your organization's mission in the most timely and cost-effective way. Initiatives that approve working conditions and employee morale are also important because they lead to improved financial performance.
  2. Urgency does not necessarily equal importance. Assess urgent tasks first to determine their relative importance and to see where they fit in the overall scheme of your responsibilities. Only then should you react.
  3. Is your initiative someone else's responsibility? Although you may be tempted to take initiative throughout your organization, in some cases it is best to defer your efforts to the person who is responsible for the particular product, service or process that you wish to address. If this is the case, bring up your ideas or concerns with that person, and then let him or her take the ball and run with it.

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