Gregory Ronczewski is the Director of Product Design at TeamFit platform – view his profile on TeamFit
Top image: Giewont Mountain (1,895 metres high). There is a 15 m tall steel cross erected in 1901 on the top of tallest peak. The mountain is associated with a legend of an oversleeping knight who will awake when Poland is in danger.

 

This year, my summer journey took me from the coast of the Baltic Sea to the Tatra Mountains where I spent many vacations and which are full of memories for me. Literally, from border to border, from the North to the South of Poland. I haven’t been there for over 30 years and yet when I sat on the grass looking at the mountains time stood still. The freshly cut grass had the same smell which took me back in an instant. I was again a 10-year-old kid wearing shorts and beaten up sneakers. Apart from hundreds of photos, books, maps and, of course, the many people we met, one theme stands out for me. The ability to take the initiative. It was visible in the places we stayed, on the highway—not the scary type of initiative expressed by overtaking on a blind curve, but a firm decision that makes driving pleasant—and in simple conversations on the streets. I wonder, why taking the initiative is better than being ordered to do things? Is it better? It could be a bit chaotic, unorganized, or obviously in-progress, but it works, and it seems that when everyone involved is not waiting to be told what to do things get done. If I had a dial to measure it—the initiative indicator—the index was much higher closer to the mountains. There is something about the people who live in the highlands, they have the free spirit and guts to do things.

Many people plan, meet, discuss, write outlines, make project plans and still, nothing happens. Excel spreadsheets full of tabs can be a good reference, but without a spark that ignites the actual work, nothing will change. This doesn’t mean that to get something going you need a massive effort. Not at all, even a small step will be better than just moving with the flow. It changes the energy. One step at a time, however, it is a step. A step forward.

In Poke the Box, Seth Godin writes about the “seventh imperative.”
The first imperative is to be aware—aware of the market, of opportunities, of who you are.
The second imperative is to be educated, so you can understand what’s around you.
The third imperative is to be connected, so you can be trusted as you engage.
The fourth imperative is to be consistent, so the system knows what to expect.
The fifth imperative is to build an asset, so you have something to sell.
The sixth imperative is to be productive, so you can be well-priced.
And the last, “the seventh imperative” is the have the guts, passion and the heart to ship. To actually make things happen.

TeamFit can help you with the first six. Knowing your skills is knowing who you are. Skill gaps suggest where focus on learning. Confirming and suggesting skills keeps you connected. From project to project, your competency level keeps you visible. And lastly, if skills are the new currency, then the skill map is your valuable asset. Productivity often depends on the type of work and the people you work with. Skill-based placement increases the odds of success. The last imperative depends on you, but it is so much easier to take a risk knowing strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s look at projects. In the current economy, almost everything is project-based. Google, Amazon, Apple, as well as practically any work in any given industry, is project based. Starting a project is hard – you need plenty of energy and information to begin. Once it rolls, it gains momentum, and it has the little universe that holds it together. The frightening moment happens when a project ends. The team needs a new project. Otherwise, there is no work. If your company specializes in a particular job, a new project may be very similar to the one that just ended. What if your next project is different? How to predict, plan and forecast the future of a project?

Taking the initiative helps. I wrote in my last post about the power of giving. Little things often make a big difference. The ability to contribute. To improve a product or a service just for the pleasure of making it better. Choosing a right team for a project is as important as choosing the right project to work on. It works both ways. A project needs a bit of marketing to attract the right people, and a person needs marketing to present a set of capabilities that will catch an eye of a manager whose task is to build the team. Since everything is in a state of constant change, a flux as some describe it, there is a need to monitor and adjust capabilities according to the shifts in demand of existing models as well as entirely new sets of skills. TeamFit is well positioned to offer both, the ability to set up competency requirements as well as the skills of individual users organized by teams or projects. All it needs is a bit of initiative. A step forward to confirm skills, to claim skills or to suggest skills.