New Horizons in Management series
Chapter 6: Opportunity recognition, innovation, and proactivity
A key component of proactive behavior is recognizing opportunities that others may have overlooked. If a worker is to be proactive, he or she must identify an opportunity to express proactivity, such as the manager of a tech support center seeing the possibilities of selling cloud backup services to clients who need help in repairing digital devices. Over 75 years ago when Chester Carlson was studying to become a patent attorney, he was faced with the tedious task of hand copying information from law books at the library. Recognizing that there must be a better way to copy written documents, he decided to build a machine to accomplish the task instead. His xerographic machine led to the founding of what became Xerox Corporation. Although Carlson’s Eureka moment is significant, he had been looking for opportunities to find new ways of printing since he was ten years old. A modern example of opportunity recognition lies behind the Chipotle Mexican Grill. Steve Ellis opened a taqueria in Denver, Colorado, to earn enough money to fund his dream of a full-scale restaurant. As sales soared for his Mexican food, he saw a great opportunity. He pivoted and expanded the burrito restaurant into a chain instead of following through on his plan to open a full-scale restaurant.
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