Blog by Jade McFadyen.

A few weeks ago, my sister shared her experience with me of catching a slightly earlier bus home than she would normally take one Friday evening.  While it wasn’t her normal bus, this bus took the same route home she normally took, passed the same bus stops and took the same amount of time.

Give your career a boost by using your initiative.

Give your career a boost by using your initiative.


As the bus came near her usual stop, she alerted the driver to stop at the next stop.  Getting up from her seat to prepare to leave the bus she noticed that it was not slowing down and instead went right past her stop.  She walked up to the driver to ask why he hadn’t stopped and he told her that this particular bus doesn’t stop at her usual stop.  Perplexed, she asked the driver why and he said it just didn’t stop there.  Further questioning revealed that this new bus was on the same route as the normal bus she took and the bus was not an express.  In fact the only thing different in this scenario was the bus number and that it left at a slightly earlier time.


To cut a long story short, my sister ended up having to get off at a stop on the other side of the suburb from where she lived and walk home.


Confused?  So am I!


This confusion is an all too familiar feeling when dealing with businesses providing products and services.  All too often we are seeing instances of people not thinking ‘outside of the box’ to help their customers.  I am not referring to breaking workplace rules, I am simply asking for people to use their initiative when it comes to the service they provide their customers, after all that’s the only reason we are there right?


So, how do we do this?


We all have a voice in the workplace, no matter how small it is.  Your feedback is key to how processes are formed and followed.  Instead of throwing your proverbial hands in the air and feeding the customer phrases such as ‘we don’t do it like that’ or ‘I can’t help you’, look at ways you can help them and meet the needs of your workplace at the same time.  If you notice a trend in customer demand v’s workplace processes, then speak up!  Share your experiences with your manager in a positive way and ensure you offer examples on how you think the matter could be resolved.


So, what does using your initiative offer you in return?

  • It is key to your career growth
  • It will help you gain respect from your managers, peers and customers
  • It is the main vehicle to success in your own learning and development.


While we cannot change all processes set out by our workplaces, we can help to change some, or at the very least be able to offer a good explanation along with a work-around solution for your customers.


So, in the case of the bus driver who refused to stop, a simple explanation could have been “I am sorry, we are unable to stop at this bus stop due to it not being part of my list of allowed stops for this route.  How about I stop at the closest bus stop that I am able to for you, and when I get back to the station, I will pass on your feedback to my manager and see if this could be revised sometime in the future.  In the meantime, it may be better for you to catch the XXX bus.”  Sounds a lot better than “this bus cannot stop here” doesn’t it?


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