office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The theme of this post is about the concept of being pro-active, or pro-acting instead of re-acting. I think I am probably taking some liberties with treating 'pro-act' as a real word, but re-act is a word, so why not?!

I just reconnected with my boss after he was traveling out of the country for the last month. I have been working with him for seven months now, and it has been good, encouraging, and interesting to break in this new reporting relationship with him. The one theme and 'magic word' I have heard, used, and seen have an impact with him is the act of being proactive.

If you can anticipate the needs of someone (co-werker) or something (a project) else, and actively work to provide a solution or supporting structure before something falls through the cracks, gets mis-communicated, or simply doesn't happen when it should...if you can pro-act instead of re-act, you are going to get two thumbs way up from the boss.

In order to pro-act, you have to be astute in your relationships, your understanding of the current political landscape, and your ability to know how to drive things forward. To pro-act is to possess an inherent drive to accomplish and progress in the company of others who are like-minded. To pro-act is to push, push, push, and then push some more, beyond the barriers and expectations placed before you.

What is the motivation behind proaction?

I can tell you what it's not:
It's not motivated by a desire to look good in front of your superiors, or to obtain the proverbial stamp of approval.

It's not motivated by a check-list of 'things to be completed' or a clear cut definition of only getting things done that need to be done.

Proaction is getting the job done, and then kicking it up ten notches because you know that you can and you know that it needs to be done.

Proaction is not presentee-ism or task-management, Proaction is anticipation in the hopes of accomplishing more than you thought possible because you've already got the basics nailed to the wall, so why not go further? Why not build an addition onto the house, even if it's just adding a second bathroom to the infrastructure of the home, simply because sharing one toilet with 8 people isn't cutting it anymore? Why not plan for the future like it's already here, instead of being surprised by it when it shows up sooner than you expected?

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