Photography by Rich Smith
For most, today’s business environment can be characterized as evolving continuously. It is one where technology is changing quickly, competition is high, and markets are saturated, which in turn is forcing organizations to have sound business strategies and to operate effectively and efficiently. It is one where employers are challenged even more so to attract and retain the most talented and best-prepared employees as unemployment is low and the demands of the 21st century workforce are much different than just 10 years ago.
Much has been written about small and large business organizations being proactive, versus reactive. Business pundits and educators define proactive businesses (also called predictive leadership) as those that do not wait for success to come to them, but instead devise business strategies that aim at lofty goals while taking all necessary precautions to mitigate risk. They define proactive organizations as ones that see disruptive forces as unique opportunities to gain long-term advantages. They define a proactive approach as one that deals with expected difficulties in advance to improve every aspect of the business – from sales, cost of goods and marketing, to organizational design and employee relations. Through careful risk management, proactive leaders ensure the success of key projects by carefully monitoring and analyzing inside (people, politics, etc.) and outside factors (market, clients, suppliers, competition, etc.) to determine major risks in advance and then take steps to minimize potential damage.
Many leaders believe that their job is to resolve problems that arise in the most effective and expeditious manner, and most would agree that this is true. It is a leadership style that is much admired for being decisive and capable of developing innovative solutions quickly in the midst of a crisis. More importantly though, a leader’s job is to lead for what is to come – to prevent problems by being proactive and predictive. Read on to hear how local leaders prepare for the unexpected in their industry.