Cowshed Projects - Better projects and profit from flexible project management
I was in the middle of a conversation recently with a senior manager about what areas a company needed to grow and what resource they need to invest in next. Always difficult when funds are tight and the future uncertain. They said it was essential that that someone was proactive. I naturally instinctively agreed. … then I thought about it … how many times have I been in a conversation where another manager who’s been complaining because an employee has done something and not consulted or got the right person involved to try and sort out a problem, not done something as they would … quite a few! More than I can say proactive actions have been given a positive spin probably!
I got me thinking, what is being proactive …. The definition is ‘creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.’
That’s great if it’s the right action and better sometimes than doing nothing at all.. sometimes. But to do it the right way is the key … I’ve seen and done many proactive things that have ended up being in the same situation if not worse than before. Often this happens when senior managers jump in without understanding the situation or people doing things without consulting a person who could guide them a better way.
O yes, we all want proactive employees, no one wants to spend even more precious time doing other people’s jobs, it’s just inefficient and frustrating, but that action needs to be causing the right thing to happen. To make proactivity a positive thing then you need to make sure the proactivity is going to benefit the situation. How?
The key to encouraging proactivity and ensuring good proactivity is creating a good understanding of your company. An understanding that is communicated simply to allow the proactivity to be channelled the best way or through the best person.
To do this create a clear structure that outlines knowledge, skills or at least responsibility and the starting point for this is a company organigram. These usually though just contain titles, but titles don’t explain the expertise or responsibilities and create a hierarchy. To make it a proactive tool its needs to also include those expertise and responsibilities. Then you have created a basis or roadmap to channel that proactivity in the right way. Experience will eventually create this understanding most of the time, but it’s a simple solution to belt and brace it. It will give new employees and anyone else who works with your company that instant clarity and even help existing employees.
So make it fantastic Mr proactive.
I'd love to hear your views, experiences and comments and if you're interested in finding out more, drop me a line.
Thanks for reading
Hi I'm Simon. I've worked in projects for a while now, either management or design. I love projects but they're frustrating. Hope some of this help you.