Do you see your work team as one that deals with things as they happen or takes responsibility for what occurs, as well as the part they play in that occurrence? Herein lies the difference between being proactive and reactive. To have a team that anticipates needs, problems and the like, encourage them to take a proactive approach. This will help them in their overall lives as well.
- It allows them to make more informed decisions. When a person reacts constantly, they must essentially work with parameters someone else has set up, thus narrowing their possible reactions. The person who takes a proactive approach has the chance to look at different angles and see which direction they want to come from, weighing alternatives, anticipating problems, and then deciding rather than always having to solve a problem as a response. Proactive responses tend to mean a person has tried, rather than reacting with a minimum of output.
- It saves time and money. Think of it this way: The proactive team looks at a project and discusses the possible successes and pitfalls, figuring out where problems may lie and solving them before they become something to worry about. The reactive team hasn’t done that sort of anticipating, so when a difficulty occurs, they must run around attempting to put out fires and respond, often spending time and money to fix what could’ve been dealt with beforehand.
- It allows for flexibility and change. The team willing to examine a task and take a calculated risk has weighed the pros and cons, looking for another approach that could mean success. They’ve examined the options and figured out which one could work best. When you consider something before it happens, you’ve already got a solution should a problem occur. And when you choose to take a new approach rather than doing things “the old way,” your team becomes more innovative and willing to take careful risks to yield big results.
Having a proactive approach embodies the saying, “the best defense is a good offense.” When you take control of the ball, you take control of the game, whether in sports, work, or life.
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