(#191) React, Respond or Initiate?

Managers react. Leaders initiate.

Ready for a little equation solving? What does each letter represent?

E + R = O


This equation (I believe it is attributed to Clement Stone) reminds us to pause in our interactions and avoid making hasty decisions.

E = event. R = Response. O = Outcome.

Many times, we will react rather than respond.  Reaction has more of a knee-jerk connotation connected to it.  Someone says or does something and you fire off a flaming email—only to wish you could “unsend” it a few hours later. Reaction can be more emotional than thoughtful and deliberative.

Response, on the other hand, indicates we take time to consider what has happened, use critical thinking skills, and draw considered conclusions.

Bottom line: Events do not necessarily cause the outcome.  The event obviously has an impact on the outcome but our response (or reaction) will create the outcome.


Seth Godin, in his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, adds another dimension.  He explains it this way:

The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond.
But the hardest thing is to initiate….Reacting is intuitive and instinctive
and usually dangerous. Managers react. Responding is a much better
alternative….Initiating is really and truly difficult, and that’s what leaders do.
(p. 86)

Initiating indicates proactive movement. Rather than wait for someone else to act and then respond (react) to him or her, you can be transformative!

Video recommendation for the week:

Think of last week.  Were your actions more reactive, responsive or indicative of initiative? Think of the coming week.  What can you do to replace reactions with responses in your relationships (personal and working)?  And where can you show your leadership abilities by initiating action? Initiative can make a difference—a dent in the universe.

You can always be in a position to respond to environmental stimuli. AND you can always create the space to take initiative—even in small increments—and be the orchestrator of both events and outcomes.

I = E + O


Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://stevepiscitelli.com/webinars.html).

 (c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
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