Taking the Initiative
Initiatives are activities that require group effort to accomplish tasks.
They are often synergistic, where the performance of the group exceeds what any single group member could accomplish alone.
Initiatives can serve the dual purpose of providing engaging, enjoyable experiences while promoting both individual and collective growth and development.
Participants can experience recreation while reflecting on their competence as a group (and as a group member) and developing strategies for enhanced effectiveness.
Initiatives that are well matched to skills and needs of particular groups can promote enhanced communication, cooperation, and collaboration.
Nelson (1999) identified the following ways in which an individual can take greater initiative in his or her job.
Each is relevant to the presentation, implementation and evaluation of initiatives:
- Thinking outside the box. This relates to the novelty of many initiatives. Groups are involved in tasks that they have no experience to rely on and are asked to consider new approaches, to brainstorm, and to champion new ideas.
- Doing your homework. Preparation is the key to success with many initiatives. Groups learn to fully utilize the planning time they are given in the process of completing an initiative.
- Taking action—capitalizing on opportunities. Group members are encouraged to take chances and to make decisions. They are also asked to take responsibility for their actions.
- Making improvements. With many initiatives there are multiple trials with the opportunity for group members to suggest alternatives and refinements toward enhanced performance.
- Persevering. Sticking with the ideas and actions you believe in is a part of the process of many initiatives, as is the collective will of a group to keep trying when success is not easily or quickly obtained.
Initiatives are useful for helping groups get to know one another and have fun together.
They can be presented and sequenced to work on goals related to team-building, education, and/or treatment.
Skills and attitudes developed through initiatives can potentially transfer to all areas of participants' lives.
This book presents a frame of reference for and the content and process of utilizing initiatives.
Section 1: Toward a Frame of Reference
Section 2: Assessment and Planning
Section 3: Activity Descriptions
Section 4: Leadership and Processing
Section 5: Resources, Notes, and Anecdotes