Spotting Initiative

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Not too long ago, I stumbled across a way to screen new contacts for seriousness and initiative via email.

The trick: I identify leaders by giving people assignments.

Here's how it works. I'm going to use a really simple example. Recognize that the range of inbound requests are all over the place, from a wide range of people, with very different degrees of experience. The initial interactions can be complex and my assignments vary dramatically, but with a goal of intersecting (a) what the person is asking for and (b) a result that will be interesting to me in some way.
Brad Field's example illustrates how this works quite well. In fact, his example was so clear that it helped me realize that a way I'd once come up with to diplomatically turn down potential clients was basically the same thing. And that realization helped me see that my method could, conversely, help me identify good clients. Perhaps I would have figured this out sooner or later, but thanks to Fields's advice, I know this now.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

I guess this will work in reverse as well; as a method to help other people identify you as a leader.

Gus Van Horn said...

That's true, but there may be the danger of implying that you want to be more involved than you really do, depending on the assignment accepted.