David Maister just posted something very interesting: a question. "What are the top 10 bad habits partners within professional services firms display?" That's easy. They're not proactive.
Steven Covey pointed out the importance of being proactive in his landmark book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He listed proactivity first. He was right.
Marketing and business development are, ultimately, all about creating a vision of the business you want to have, and then reaching out and doing what it takes to make that vision real. In my line of work, this means engaging with your market. It means calling people you don't already know, making presentations with no guarantee of success, and so on. It's about taking initiatives.
Professionals are often very risk-averse people. They're used to solving complex problems within a bounded system. There are certain rules, and processes, and there isn't any model for trying something new, or even trying something at all. So they don't. Or, to use a metaphor, they tend not to be the cue ball, but instead, the ball the cue ball is aimed at.
This is fatal. If I could boil everything I know and teach down into one concept it would be: make something happen. Mr. Covey is right. Do something.