Another practice Challengers use to demonstrate ownership and be executive has to do with how they approach action vacuums. Let’s say that you are working on a project for a very senior person in the department. You, however, have reached a point of deep frustration with the project lead because she is failing to respond to your emails about when the two of you will close on some key decisions, which features the initiative will include versus which will be backlogged, and who will be on point for what. Without the lead’s response, you don’t know what you should start working on. The clock is ticking.
Yes, this is frustrating. Yes, you (perhaps reasonably) wish things were different. Do you also see how you have landed in a place of inaction, an action vacuum?
So why wait? Flip this around and see if you can be the one to fill the vacuum. Here are some steps to consider taking to fill an action vacuum, take ownership, and drive things forward:
- Make recommendations, instead of waiting for the lead to do it
- Create the starting place, instead of thinking the other person will
- Offer something for others to react to (take a stand), instead of holding back (or hiding) until someone else puts some skin in the game
- Set up the cadence for how the work will move forward—or at least propose one!—instead of waiting passively for the lead to tell you how things are going to go
Why not try it? I can almost guarantee you will be happier than if you wait for someone else to make something happen.