Reactive vs Proactive For Business Growth
I’m not a lifestyle guru or mindset coach, but I do want to talk to you about mindset and how that specifically matters to running a successful business. Reactivity and proactivity are two sides of the same coin, but their effects on your organisation are very different.
Reactivity involves waiting for things to happen and then reacting to them afterwards. This can be for positive or negative things – from a potential customer enquiry to a payment dispute. It is always a retrospective approach, so you’ll always be on the ‘back foot’.
Proactivity is more about anticipating the things that might happen and putting systems or processes in place to account for them. By nature, proactive approaches require you to have a strong business plan in place to help identify the various challenges that will present themselves. Otherwise, you’ll be surprised and forced into a retrospective reaction.
In terms of productivity and profitability, a proactive mindset is definitely superior – but reactivity will always have a place. A team that can react swiftly to unexpected issues will generally experience a better outcome.
Despite that, proactive approaches are by nature more effective because it means that you shouldn’t have to allocate resources as a reaction to unforeseen issues. So how do you adopt a more proactive approach?
Stick to the plan
I’ve talked about the importance of a strategic business plan elsewhere on the blog, but it’s paramount to proactivity so I’ll discuss it again. Your business needs a strategy in place that has a fully planned-out map of activity so you can be proactive. Without this plan, you’ll always be reacting to challenges, issues or opportunities (you can read more about strategic planning here).
Part of any good business strategy involves accounting for resources – how your business can best utilise team members to reach your goals. To establish a more proactive mindset in your team, you’ll need to regularly communicate with your team on your vision for the business and your strategic plan. Help them to see and understand the part they play in the overall strategy and direction of your business and encourage open dialogue. Be receptive to their ideas and encourage them to take ownership of their part in the business.
Don’t see competitors as a crutch
Borrowing from the competition is a practice as old as business itself. If, however, you’re always reacting to things your competitors are doing, you’re only ever going to be in second place. Rather than focusing on what competitors do, why not look elsewhere for inspiration? Look into adjacent sectors or other similar styles of business outside of your market to come up with ideas for inspiration.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Being proactive doesn’t mean getting everything right. If you’re trying to be more future-focused and move away from reacting to things, you may put processes in place that fail. You might not even see a need for a specific system until it’s suddenly there and causing problems.
Don’t worry about failing. Having to react to things isn’t a disaster, and, as I mentioned earlier, it’s often necessary. The difference between having to react because certain things failed or having to react to EVERY situation is huge.
Planned reactions are always better
Reactivity has its place in business, there will always be unexpected issues that demand action. Businesses that are able to react with speed and competency can do so because they’ve got proactive systems in place across the rest of the business, meaning you can freely switch attention to the new threat without worrying about other things going wrong. Once resolved, you can systemise this new occurrence to reduce the need for further reactivity.
So we’ve talked through the benefits of proactivity but now you need to drive that mindset change throughout your business. To do that, you should start with a strategy planning session that allows you to outline your business’s goals and the journey you’ll take to get there. In my role as a Fractional Operations Director, I can help you streamline this strategy, adopt a proactive mindset and drive lasting change in your business. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.
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