The Art of Being Proactive

What does it mean to be proactive? How do you best execute it without being pushy or overbearing? It’s an art, and something that’s so important in the success of any business or business person.  Don’t wait around for someone to ask for something. Whether its building a case for your promotion or building a case for your business plan and/or solutions.  Be proactive. Present your thinking and your findings and if done correctly, I can almost guarantee it will be greeted with joy and excitement.

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Listen to your client or boss, find out their needs – review their website, look at competitors. Understand the business needs. Most of the time your boss or client will have a clear understanding of their needs, they’re either just not sure how to get there or haven’t had the time to execute the solution themselves. Listen to the issues, what’s working, what’s not working.  How does the business convey their message – what’s their tone of voice? The key to also understanding a business is getting the lay of the competitive landscape. How does this business differentiate itself from others, etc…  Make sure you have a clear understanding of the business and their issues.  Arm yourself to be a problem solver.


Start your work by brainstorming around what the business needs. What problem are you trying to solve? Is there documentation that already exists – then start with that documentation, don’t try to recreate the wheel if you don’t need to. And your thoughts and work will be much more well received if it’s building upon work that already is approved.  Use your brainstorming notes as part of your “pitch”- people appreciate to see your thinking process. It helps to tell the story.  And since no one necessarily may have asked you for the work you’re about to present, it helps to show you’re thinking.  And it disarms the conversation when it feels like it’s a brainstorm conversation. Move the conversation forward.


Come to a conclusion. After you’ve listened, researched and brainstormed, make an attempt to make a recommendation.  It’s either a solution, a recommendation for work, or something that solidifies the work that you’ve done.  How do you think you can help?  What services can you provide? And how would you prioritize the work and the timeline around it?  There’s nothing more satisfying than coming to a conclusion on how you can help people. On what you can do to move you to a promotion. Open this up for discussion – are you on the right path, is this what’s needed? And most importantly when can you get started on this plan! Get agreement and move forward.