How often have you heard someone say after an emergency, “I didn’t even have time to think!” While they may not have taken time to think in the moment, chances are they had previously thought about what they might do if they found themselves in such a situation.

Do you know what you would do if you saw someone choking? What would you do if you saw a building on fire? What would you do if you witnessed a car accident?

What would you do if there was a crisis at work? A supplier doesn’t deliver on time? A materials order was shorted? A marketing piece is sent with a typo? A key player must unexpectedly take a leave of absence? The sale that was a sure thing isn’t any longer?

Planning forward is a positive approach

Being proactive is a skill that skilled business leaders possess. Proactivity is a combination of thinking and planning. Think about what possible issues may arise and plan what you will do should they occur.

Imagine the reaction of the person you work for when he/she comes to you with a crisis and you already have a well-thought-out action plan in mind?

There’s no doubt that a crisis requires urgency.

There’s also no doubt that you don’t want your thinking to become exclusively reactionary. In a crisis, the plan that was considered beforehand is the one that is valued, appreciated and rewarded. Pre-planning for a potential crisis is far more effective and efficient because it allows you to reach a solution that much quicker.

Recently, I hosted an Evolving Leaders Summit for 13 up-and-coming leaders. As we prepared for the event I noticed my assistant had packed paper plates, napkins, and utensils.

“Don’t the caterers provide all of this?” I asked.
“Yes,” she responded, “but I’ve planned enough events to know better.”

Fast forward to the day of the event… the caterer drops off all of the food, plates, and napkins, but no plasticware. Had my assistant not been proactive, our whole day’s schedule would have been off track while we waited for the caterer to return with utensils. Instead, we ate on time and our participants had no idea that we had just experienced what otherwise might have been a crisis.

Here are five #Thoughtstarters to help you initiate your proactivity:

  1. Who do I depend on to successfully complete my job?
  2. What would I do if they did not deliver as promised?
  3. What backup plans should I have in place?
  4. What issues have arisen in the past and how might they be avoided moving forward?

Until next week,
Brent