Horizon Performance

Proactivity: Adopting the Principles of the Offense to Avoid Passivity

“If you do nothing long enough, something’s bound to happen.” H. Jon Benjamin

I’ve been thinking about proactivity lately. I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t sure proactivity was a word. But according to dictionary.com, proactivity is “the act, characteristic, or habit of thinking and acting so as to prepare for, intervene in, or control expected events, especially negative or challenging ones; initiative.” Thank you, internet!

“Proactivity.” I like saying it. I think it’s now one of my favorite words.

But how does one exercise proactivity? Great question. I’m glad you asked. If you’re wanting to implement a bit of proactivity, consider a few of the U.S. Army’s principles as they relate to offensive operations.

1. Concentration: Employ all your available resources to help achieve your desired outcomes. Failing to use all your available resources diminishes the odds you will succeed and could leave you saying, “We should’ve…”

2. Tempo: The timing of your concentrated efforts is critical. If you thrust your organization into operations without employing your resources at the right times and places, you’ll likely not achieve your desired outcome. Too little too late.

3. Audacity: Be daring enough to do bold things. Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to do things different than you’ve done before.

What’s the opposite of proactivity? Great question. I’m glad you asked. The answer is reactivity. Reactivity lends itself to passivity which is the trait of being passive; a lack of initiative. Thanks again, internet!

Please don’t get me wrong: Having reaction plans is necessary. But reactivity lends itself to playing the defense. If you’ve set audacious goals for your organization, it’s doubtful that a defensive (reactive) operational approach will allow you to achieve them. Don’t give up control. Take the initiative. Go on the offensive. Play to win.

“Proactivity.” It has a nice ring to it. Wouldn’t you agree?

Proactivity: Adopting the Principles of the Offense to Avoid Passivity was originally published in Horizon Performance on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.