This is the third article in a series of blogs that I am planning to share regarding my learnings from the coronavirus pandemic so far. The first article was about the overall lessons that I learned from the pandemic and the second was about the importance of human connection for a successful career. Today, I am going to talk about how proactive decision-making is more fruitful than reacting to situations when they arrive.
As I mentioned in my first article, most of us fail to get ourselves out of the ‘What-If’ loop and refrain from making proactive decisions. Instead, we make sudden decisions as a reaction to an external situation.
Decision Making Proactive vs. Reactive
Today, I will focus on the decisions that we make professionally. Let’s look at the current situation. While nobody could have predicted this pandemic, since the lockdown many people have experienced salary cuts or job losses or are living under the fear that cost-cutting by their company will impact them soon. With limited job opportunities and partial lockdown still in place, most people are in the ‘wait and watch’ mode and not making any decisions.
Once the economy reopens, based on the demand, they will make instinctive decisions to further their career – this is reactive decision-making. On the other hand, there a few who are using this period to improve themselves and be better prepared for the post-lockdown world – proactive decision-making. While there are some situations that demand an impromptu decision, in most cases, proactive decision-making can benefit you. Take an example of the decision made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of locking down the country proactively and not waiting for the numbers to get worse before taking action. It helped slow down the growth in the number of cases in the country and allowed the healthcare sector to prepare for managing a higher number (in case they are needed).
Tips to change reactive to proactive decision-making
If you find yourself being more reactive than proactive, then here are some tips that can help.
Tip #1. Set clear goals
You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go, right? Professionally, indecisiveness stems from uncertainty about career goals. Hence, most people spur into action only when an external factor pushes them out of their inertia. I am not saying that you should be oblivious to these external factors. Being responsive is fine – but once it turns into dependency, the outcome is usually counterproductive.
Reactive decision-making is usually a trait of professionals who make decisions only when external factors push them. The first step towards becoming more proactive is to define clear goals in all aspects of your professional life. What are the different career paths that you can consider? Which skills would make you better at what you do? Do you need an education upgrade or a workshop will suffice? Answers to such questions can help you make difficult decisions during crises.
Tip #2. Prioritize
Once you have defined your professional goals, you need to arrange them in the order of priority. Which ones would you want to target first? This will help bring a sense of confidence while making decisions and you will be more proactive in your approach. For example, during the current lockdown, some people started working towards improving their knowledge and/or skills to emerge better professionals on the other side of the lockdown. This proactive approach would not be possible if they were not clear about their professional goals.
Tip #3. Look at what the corporates are looking for in employees
The corporate world is a dynamic place. The skills that are in demand today, can become obsolete in a few months. Hence, it is important to always stay in sync with the changing corporate landscape. Look at jobs that you can apply for and the skills that the companies are looking for. If you are lacking those skills, then proactively up-skill yourself to stay competitive.
Tip #4. Identify new opportunities
Currently, despite the lockdown, businesses are looking at different ways to stay afloat while keeping their costs in check. Some sectors are still doing good business and even recruiting people. If you are finding yourself stuck in the ‘wait and watch mode’, then looking at sectors that are doing well and identifying job opportunities can be a good place to start. It can provide the required impetus to start working on your skills/knowledge to be skilled enough to apply.
Most people detest change. It shakes the comfort of the known and opens the door for unknown possibilities. If you have a proactive mindset, then you will start perceiving change as an opportunity-generator and not a disruptive force. People who take reactive decisions spend a lot of time and effort defending themselves against the effects of change while they could use the same time and energy in something constructive.
The word as we know is undergoing a change and until we find a vaccine or cure, these changes are going to be the new normal. Hence, adapting to this change requires a proactive approach. Else, you will find yourself reacting to some other change in the near future. Take the control of your career in your hands and Change UR Story!
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