Personal Development, Leadership, and Motivation Blog Series
I am sure you’ve heard about pro-active and re-active approaches at work, in your place of business, or somewhere else outside of business walls. This type of conversation would typically come up when discussing almost late to late projects – re-active, or advanced planning and strategy – pro-active. Why understanding the difference between two approaches matters and how this knowledge can be used in daily business and personal life applications?
Re-Active Approach to problem solving and life situations
Re-active approach could also be associated with procrastination. Since, I believe, we all know what procrastination is, understanding re-active approach in business and life should be rather simple. The way I view re-active approach is when projects or tasks are assigned by business leader(s) to an individual to complete by specific deadline, while meeting certain quality standards expected by the company, however, despite all these expectations and requirements the person responsible for completion of these tasks fails to understand, plan, and begin acting on the task at hand until it is near or right at deadline.
What happens as result of practicing re-active approach and procrastination?
What typically happens when someone chooses to procrastinate and follow more re-active, delayed approach, is sacrifice in quality, since you have very little or no time to effectively plan, brainstorm, organize and execute on a plan, which in turn causes for the project or task to be completed very close or even past deadline. Low quality and/or missed deadlines create unhappy leadership team and negative impact on person’s professional reputation. Who wants to be this person, I would guess not many people would want to be in such situation, as it does not provide any benefit to a person’s growth and career development.
What is an example of re-active approach in personal life outside of business environment?
Consider taking your family on a trip to Disney World for the very first time. Many first-timers to Disney World know that such trip with family and kids requires a lot of pre-planning and organization several months in advance. However, very few people and families whose to follow recommendations of others and begin planning when it is almost time to leave for the trip, if planning at all, not reviewing all available resources online and offline with many different recommendations to save money and create once a lifetime experience for the parents and children alike. As a result, many things such as renting a stroller for smaller kids, food passes, park passes, lodgings, transportation, becomes a headache when family arrives at Disney Worlds, and instead of enjoying the time with kids, parents spend countless hours and large amount of money tending to what is needed vs. relaxing, which usually results in frustration and less than exceptional Disney experience. That is an example of re-active approach to planning. Is this the experience that you want?
Pro-Active approach and its application in business and personal life
Pro-active approach is, of course, the opposite of re-active. This approach in business and personal life outside of business walls encompasses acting on tasks and projects at hand immediately, creating plan and timeline for project’s completion in advance of the deadline set, making sure that all expectations and requirements are met ahead of time, and keeping business leaders in the know about projects progress without being reminded to do so. With pro-active approach to timelines and problem discovery and solution can be uncovered much quicker and with higher quality, due to project owner having adequate amount of time to engage many different resources for their assistance and valuable feedback. As a result, with pro-active approach business leaders know exactly where business is going and timelines when previously set milestones will be reached. Thus, everyone is happy and satisfied with results. Same Disney planning exampled shared earlier can be used for explaining a real-life application of the pro-active approach, all that you need to do is look at that same example from a different angle, when all recommended planning and preparation steps were completed several months in advance vs. waiting until the last minute.
Why am I sharing these two approaches? How does understanding of each one can help someone in improving personally and professionally?
The reason why understanding the difference and application of these two different approaches is important is, because, depending on which approach we choose and/or prefer usually results in the outcome typical for each one. So, if our preferred approach is more re-active to everything we do, then we should expect to remain where we are today with very limited movement forward to where we desire to be. Do we want to procrastinate and have a vacation filled with frustration, or do we want to have a great time with our family filled with joy and happiness? The choice is ours to make, and the way we choose to live our personal and professional life is also ours.
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