This week we began a series on our blog highlighting how going beyond talent can propel leaders forward. We started by explaining “How Belief Lifts Talent” through the lens of Tim Tebow.

Today, we’re focusing on how “Initiative Activates Your Talent” based on the innovation and contribution of Apple, Inc.

In 1980, Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs’ mission statement for his venture was: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”

It may seem vague for a company to state that it seeks to make a contribution to the world to advance humankind. However, Jobs’ mission showed that from the start he had set his sights on the highest possible outcome for Apple. Jobs himself, known for his talent and creativity, was a large factor in Apple’s success. He was willing to take initiative in the then unfamiliar realm of technology.

In Beyond Talent, John Maxwell writes, “Talent without initiative never reaches its potential. It’s like a caterpillar that won’t get into its cocoon. It will never transform, forever relegated to crawling on the ground, even though it had the potential to fly.

Through constant hard work, creativity, and a dedicated mission, Apple became and remains today the most innovative company in the world.

Since the 1980s, Apple’s mission statement has changed, but still differs from a typical mission statement. Instead it reads more like a list of accolades on Apple’s “resume:”

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

We can see clearly the transformation of Apple over time and even the legacy Jobs’ left behind. Leaders recognize that it took initiative to do things no one else was doing and to bring products to market that no one knew they needed. Now, Apple has revolutionized technology and continuously feeds off of its momentum by building bigger (yet, often smaller) and better products to better the lives of its users.

People who take initiative and work hard may succeed, or they may fail. But anyone who doesn’t take initiative is almost guaranteed to fail.” – Beyond Talent, John C. Maxwell

Regardless of industry, we have the opportunity to take initiative on something completely new, serve customers in new ways, create new products or services, train or manage teams in new ways and more. We have the chance to define the next generation. As we move past the unknown or fear of failure, we find ourselves challenged to act boldly and act today.

“Talent-plus people don’t wait for everything to be perfect to move forward. They don’t wait for all the problems or obstacles to disappear. They don’t wait until their fear subsides. They take initiative. They know a secret that good leaders understand: momentum is their friend. As soon as they take that first step and start moving forward, things become a little easier. If the momentum gets strong enough, many of the problems take care of themselves and talent can take over. But it starts only after you’ve taken those first steps.” – John Maxwell

How have you taken initiative in your life? Or what is something you need to take initiative on? Comment below to be entered to win a copy of Beyond Talent, or share your thoughts with us on Twitter using the hashtag #BeyondTalent or on Facebook.

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