In most companies, the most valuable employees are the ones that are proactive. By definition, this means they are in control of situations by causing things to happen rather than waiting to respond after things happen. People that are proactive don’t sit around waiting for answers to appear; they face up, put one foot in front of the other, and find the answers. They don’t wait for someone to hand them an instruction manual and a box of tools; they’re resourceful.
Here are three ways to be more proactive at work:
1. Predict: In order to be proactive, you must first develop foresight. Keep your eyes open for opportunities. Proactive people are rarely caught by surprise. Learn to anticipate problems and events. Understand how things work; look for patterns; recognize the regular routines, daily practices and natural cycles that exist in your business. At the same time, don’t allow yourself to become complacent. Imagine multiple scenarios/outcomes in your mind.
2. Prevent: Proactive people foresee potential obstacles and exert their power to find ways to overcome them before those obstacles turn into concrete roadblocks. They prevent problems that others would simply look back on in hindsight and claim unavoidable. Don’t allow yourself to get swept up in a feeling of powerlessness. When challenges approach, take control and confront them head on before they grow into overwhelming problems.
3. Plan: Proactive people plan for the future. Avoid one-step, “here and now” thinking and instead, look ahead and anticipate long-term consequences. Bring the future into the present; what can you do today to ensure success tomorrow? Don’t make decisions in a vacuum; every decision is a link in a chain of events leading to one final conclusion.