Initiators #1 [PTB]

To celebrate the launch of Poke the Box, I'm going to profile a dozen people who have, in various ways, made the decision to lead, to poke, to initiate. Starting things is a scarce resource, the fuel we need to change things for the better.

Let's kick it off with Sasha Dichter, Director of Business Development at the Acumen Fund. He doesn't run a company, he has a boss, and he works for a non-profit. Certainly there's not a lot of room for initiative and innovation in a setting like this.

Except there is. Sasha has one of the most influential non-profit blogs online, something he started on his own. He has written provocative manifestos and recently launched a national holiday.

It's so easy to get hung up on reacting to incoming, on working through a checklist and on imagining what the boss wants you to do next. It's far more productive, I think, to decide where you want to go and then go there. And the power and low-price of online tools makes that easier than ever.

The key difference between initiators and everyone else is the simple idea of posture. What do you say to yourself in between assignments? What do you do when you see something that needs doing?

Sasha asks himself (not his boss), "what's next?" And that's the shift. You look at a world of opportunities and you pick one. Initiative is taken, it's not given.