Get Proactive with Planning

hand writing on tablet with stylus
hand writing on tablet with stylus

Creating a strategic plan and refining your planning process has helped business leaders succeed. They are able to prioritize important tasks, move away from a destabilizing, reactive approach, and engage in decision-making processes more confidently, thanks to a plan.

While a shift to a more proactive means of managing may shake things up in the short term, the long-term benefits of a proactive mindset in business can save a company time and money — and ensure that employees feel more clear about their defined roles.

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Benefits of Proactive Planning

Proactive people generally aren’t born that way – they’re taught or self-conditioned to create stability in their lives and in the workday by establishing processes for themselves and their team members. With a real plan in place, team members may feel more secure, increasing well-being in the workplace.

Because proactive planning includes an evaluation of risk, businesses often find an increase in profitability and a reduction in employee burnout. If your team currently has multiple employees always playing catch-up, feeling burnout, and struggling with time management, a little proactivity could go a long way in terms of supporting them and increasing overall productivity.

How to Embrace Strategic Planning

Being proactive with planning provides you with more control. You can foresee more pitfalls and shortcomings. Strategic planning enables you to prepare for the worst – but hope for the best, all with to-do lists that conform to your strategy.

Strategic planning is a protective form of leadership, allowing you to more efficiently direct your team and protect them from instability businesses and employees often suffer from due to reactive management styles.

Assess Current Strategy, Goals, and Resources

Before you can increase efficiency and fix problems with proactivity, you’ll have to examine your current means of operating. Specifically, you’ll have to take an honest look at the following areas of operations in your business:

  • Strategy: What, if any, strategy is currently in place? How has it helped or harmed your business or team?
  • Goals: What are your long-term goals? What about your yearly and quarterly goals?
  • Resources: What resources do you have at your disposal to make improvements or enact positive changes in your business?

A fundamental theme for many businesses is uncovering weak links that result in reactive thinking. If you look at the differences between proactive vs. reactive thinking, you can uncover areas for improvement.

From Planners to Project Management Software: Assess Your Tools

Making a leader-led mindset shift to embrace proactive thinking means you’ll need to provide your team members with the tools they need to make that happen. Many teams (even in non-technical environments) turn to project management and SCRUM-style software like Trello, Monday, or Asana. These software options permit you to measure the success of your team’s goals and accomplishments.

By laying out your goals in the software, you can provide actionable steps for your team to complete. They can see how each step in the process is goal-oriented. Plus, these software options allow you to create a template for each process or function, saving you time.

Implement Problem-Solving For the Future

Once you choose a software option to aid you in your quest for more proactive thinking, It’s time to lay out your strategy for problem-solving. To do this, you should specifically identify the problems created by reactive management and reactive thinking, then create clear solutions. Then, you can break your solutions down into actionable steps and implement them in your chosen software.

Proactive Management Style and Milestones

Milestones help assess your progress – and achieving them can make team members feel proud of their progress. Professors often provide milestone-related check-ins for their students when there are large assignments or papers due. This allows contributors to prove their progress, and by breaking your large goals down into smaller tasks, it’s simpler to plan, assess at plotted intervals, and accomplish and adjust goals as needed.

Milestones keep you in a mindset of thinking ahead, especially when your situation demands flexibility or agility based on outside factors like other teams or even emergencies like the pandemic.

Iterate Your Process and Revise Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

No process is perfect, especially when factors change. As time goes on, you can iterate and improve upon your processes. Once you’ve established a way of moving forward proactively, consider creating standard operation procedures (SOPs) or templates that guide employees on how to carry out actions in a proactive mindset fashion. When implemented properly, SOPs can be a major time saver.

While it will require a period of adjustment to switch from a reactive approach to a proactive management style, proactive planning can make an immense difference in the performance of everything from a team to a LinkedIn campaign to an overall business.

The metrics-based means of goal management provided by SCRUM-style software will prove that your decision to lead proactively creates profitability and stability for your business and employees.