Momentum Podcast: 244

Expect Initiative And Proactivity

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Once you’ve hired someone, how do you know that they’re the right person? There’s one filter I’ve always used and it’s never let me down. Expect initiative & proactivity. 

When I hire a true believer I expect that that person will drive through anything they need to, contact who they need to contact, ask questions, do what they need to do and figure out how to get things done because I want them to show initiative and proactivity. 

That’s how you build a world changing company and make your greatest contribution.

Full Audio Transcript

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be. Expect initiative and proactivity.

Recently, we've talked a lot about building your team, about hiring the right people, about bringing in true believers, but what is it that ... What is the litmus test to make sure that you have the right person in the position? What do you do once you've hired someone, how do you know they're the right person? Or more importantly, when you've gone through the interviewing process, you brought somebody in, you've hired them and you start to get uncomfortable, how do you determine whether they are someone that you should work through and coach and have work with you or whether they are someone who you've made a hiring mistake and you need to move on?

Well, there's a lot of ways to look at this, but there's one filter that I use that has always worked for me and when I ignore it or look the other way, it always burns me and that is expecting initiative and proactivity. Here's what I mean by that. When I bring somebody new onto my team, we put a lot of time into recruiting, but sometimes you bring in someone who's just not the right person. But when I bring in somebody new, here's what we're always trying to do, one, we want to hire true believers, people who believe in what we're doing, people who are excited about our outcomes, people who want to help our clients just as much as we do. Then once we bring them in, we make sure we give them clear outcomes like, "This is what we want done. These are the things we expect from you." Then we give them accountability. We say, "These are your responsibilities. This is what your position is." And then we give them a scoreboard that says, "Here is how we're going to measure your success."

Now, if someone has those things, it should create radical proactivity, and here's what I mean by that. When I hire true believers and I give them those things, what I expect is that that person will drive through anything they need to drive through, contact who they need to contact, ask questions, do what they need to do, goes throughout your organization and figure out how to get things done because I want them to have initiative and proactivity. This is something I watch for in the first few weeks somebody works with me. I'll test them. I'll actually have ... in a weekly meeting say, "Hey, set up a meeting with me to discuss that.", and then I'll see if it happens. I will test to see if they're proactively going out and getting what they need, if they take initiative within our company because here's a challenge that I have never been able to overcome.

If I hire someone who is not proactive, who doesn't like stand up and go out and want to get things done. If I hire someone who doesn't take initiative, I have never successfully figured out how to fix that because I run entrepreneurial businesses where your job changes every day, where what you're doing is going to modify and grow and morph and over time we might have to replace you with somebody else. You might have to manage that person, you might have to grow into something new and we are in a constant state of change. And so when we bring someone into our organization and we've misjudged and they are not proactive, they don't take initiative, we are dead in the water. And it doesn't ... We're a virtual company so it's exacerbated a little bit. You can't look across the room and say, "Wow, that person's not doing anything." But it doesn't matter if you're virtual or in person.

The thing that I expect above all else is that the person in the chair is going to do what it takes to get the job done. The person in the chair is going to be proactive enough to get the information and the support and the help that they need to get the job done and they will take the initiative to pick up the phone, send an email, ask a question, interrupt a meeting, do whatever they need to do to get their job done. See, I would much rather redirect someone who's interrupting me or bothering me too much or asking too many questions than have someone who joins our team is given outcomes, is told what they're accountable for, knows where the scoreboards are, but then just doesn't do that much and doesn't get a lot done. Doesn't set the meeting with me when I tell them to set the meeting with me. And when those things happen, when I see that we have someone who's not proactive and doesn't take initiative, that is a case where we move on quickly.

Here's why. I don't know how to train it. I don't know how to wake it up in somebody. I don't know how to make someone proactive. I don't know how to have someone get gain initiative or actually drive to get a job done and when we bring in the right person, these things happen naturally. So when we have someone who doesn't do this, who isn't actively getting things done, who isn't knocking things down, who isn't asking the questions and who isn't ... Really you will know how good a new team member is by the pressure they put on your team to support them, by the questions that they asked, by how much they want from you. Oftentimes we'll hire somebody new and if they're asking a lot of questions and they're interrupting and they want help, we get frustrated with them. I want you to reframe that. If a new person is doing everything they can to get ahead, then you can guide that energy in the right direction and have them grow like crazy in your company. If a new person is quiet and withdrawn and isn't bothering anybody, you're probably in trouble and it's something you should look for.

So one of the finite tests I have is if we hire someone who just doesn't have that proactive capacity, who just doesn't take initiative, then we move on and then we look and we ask ourselves, "Where did we make the mistake?" Now there's ways to test for proactivity and initiative. In our interviewing process, I typically ask like, "What types of projects have you done? What are you proud of? What are you excited about?" And I'm listening for places in a person's history in their lives where they've taken initiative, where they've been proactive. I want somebody who says, "I was given an opportunity to do this project in high school and I turned it into a whole new club for the school." Or, "I was given an opportunity to help a charity and instead I helped them build a whole new branch of their charity."

I want somebody who's excited about getting things done. I want somebody with a chip on their shoulder. I want somebody who's ready to prove themselves. I want somebody who won't let a day go by without accomplishing or getting something done or making it happen and I want somebody who stays up at night when they know that they're missing something. I want the people who are frustrated when they're not at their best and performing at the absolute highest level. Because when you build a team of people like that, it's much easier to guide a bunch of people who are overly proactive, who take too much initiative, who want too much than it is to try and light a fire under people who don't.

So as you're listening to this, if you have a team, start thinking through those individuals on your team, which one of them are proactive and which ones of them actually come to you and want more and want to do more and demand more from you. And then I also want you to think which ones are the ones who don't, which ones are the ones who are just filling the chair, who are waiting to be told what to do, who are showing up, who are getting the check, but who really aren't there to help you grow. Because here's the issue you have in an entrepreneurial business, tomorrow will not be the same as today. At least I hope it won't because if your business is growing, that means you and every person in your organization is shifting every single day and if you have a team that is proactive and takes initiative, they will live through those shifts, they will adapt through those shifts, they will grow through those shifts.

But if you have a team who isn't as your team or as your company grows and shifts, they will feel frustrated, they'll be annoyed with the growth they will be ... they'll have a hard time with the fact that you're doing more. They won't like the fact that you have more clients. They will actively work against you either consciously or subconsciously to keep your company in the same place, to maintain the status quo, to stop the growth. So if you have a team and you're in a business where you feel like you've plateaued, you're just not in momentum, you don't feel like you're moving forward as fast as you should be. You don't feel like everyone's doing what they should or you feel like you could be doing more, my question for you is, what percentage of your team is proactive and take initiative and what percentage doesn't? Because when I go into entrepreneurial businesses that have stopped growing, I can very quickly identify why.

There's a very high percentage of people that are very comfortable with where the company is and there's a low percentage of people who are agitated and frustrated and feel that restless need to grow and make things happen and affect more people and dominate and change the world. And when you find those people, that is where you build your team. That is how you build a world changing company and that is how you make your greatest contribution. Because as entrepreneurs we learn hardly anything standing still and very little alone and when we surround ourselves with proactive people who take initiative, who are in it for the cause and who are ready to go out and change the world. As entrepreneurs, we stop having to motivate and plead with our team to move forward and we become coaches and guides and we show them how to move forward in the absolute fastest way possible so you can make your greatest contribution and the change you want in the world.

So if you have someone who's on your team who isn't proactive or takes initiative, I want you to start considering how important are they really and what would it look like? What would your business look like if you had every person in the building willing to take initiative, ready to be proactive, wanting to put themselves out there and driving your business forward? I can tell you what it feels like 'cause I have a team like that and every day is like a rollercoaster. It's exciting every single day. It's not rollercoaster in a bad way. It's a rollercoaster like when it's taking a pill every morning I get up, I can't wait to see where me and my team are going to go. We adapt and we change and we shift and we do what we need to do to take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us. And we just recently did in a quarter what we did in the prior year and our company is growing like crazy and it is because I'm surrounded by people who every day push as hard as I do to make this business grow.

If you don't have that, my only question is, how fast are you going to change it? If you're ready to start building your team, grow your business, put more out there and make your greatest contribution. You owe it to yourself to go to the, answer a few questions for us, an entirely new experience. I just saw it this morning. It's absolutely awesome and get the full results of the billionaire code survey and you'll also have an opportunity to set up a call with a member of my team. If you're ready to grow your business faster than you ever thought possible, with proven systems and structures that actually work and will lower pressure and noise for you immediately go to and let's talk.

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