I’m being PROACTIVE here!

mmm … a thought here … it has been my professional experience that when somebody says they are being ‘PROACTIVE’ (an old mid-90’s management BUZZWORD) they want to sound like they are actually planning ahead. Then why is it that I see the reverse in the workplace?

Status quo managers and personnel hide behind words to manage the perception they are actually doing something. Ah … some of you are rolling your eyes … the elephants in the room or faux speak (fake language) to hide incompetence and ineptitude of managers. Very few have the capacity to think long term. It’s a skill set that is critical to any place that wants to be ‘on top of things’. Even fewer have the ability to see language like ‘proactive’ as a hint of what the quality of the thing being affected will be … usually sub-par. Saying that you’re ‘proactive’ does not endow you the ability to think ahead and plan properly for long term goals. When I hear ‘proactive’ it throws a RED FLAG in my mind and I immediately begin to scrutinize what that person is saying.  Why? From my perspective, I see the word ‘proactive’ as a ruse to buy time or cover up the fact that you don’t actually have a plan.

If you are thinking of using ‘proactive’, how about rephrasing what you really want to do:

  • plan
  • schedule
  • research
  • investigate
  • communicate
  • foresee
  • countless other words that imply that you are actually thinking ahead

So let’s stop the faux speak. Put some substance into what you’re saying. ‘Proactive’ is a hollow word that rarely leads to actual substance of anything for long term success.