Being proactive is a mindset…a choice! It is the difference between being ahead in the game versus being behind. Leaders ask questions like, “What can I do right now to get me going in the right direction,” or “What can I do right now that will ensure a successful outcome or result?” Leaders choose to make things happen instead of waiting for things to happen. Leaders embrace a “what comes next” mentality where they are always thinking about next steps and next moves.
Leaders think “chess” not “checkers” – what is the next move, after the next move? If you think in terms of the game of chess and the strategy used by championship players, you will get the idea. In operational terms, tactical moves are focused on what’s right in front of you – the next task or action that must be accomplished. Operational moves are focused on setting the conditions for success in the near term – ensuring tactical success. Strategic moves are focused on game-changing, directional moves that fundamentally impact where you’re going, what you do, and how you do it.
Being proactive is not solely about “not” being reactive. Proactiveness is intentionally taking the initiative to use every resource at your disposal to anticipate and take action on what you should be doing next.