YKK Stories

Fundamental Behavior 19 – Be Proactive

May 7, 2021
Author: YKK
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Be Proactive


pro·ac·tive      /prōˈaktiv/

adjective: proactive; adjective: pro-active

(of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

Active means doing something / prefix pro means before.

Habit #1 as outlined in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is BE PROACTIVE.  Authored by Dr. Steven Lovey, the book says proactive people focus their efforts on their circle of influence, the things they can control:  health, family, personal work performance, etc.  Reactive people focus their efforts in the circle of concern, things that they have little or no control:  national debt, weather, other people’s actions, etc.  Sounds rather simplistic to me, but many times the simple things are the most important in life.

As adults we all are proactive in one way or another. We plan our day. We plan our weekly schedule.  We may even plan our children’s or other dependent’s schedule.  Doing this task in advance allows for a level of comfort for the person(s) that are involved in the plan.  With proactive thinking, one has the ability to anticipate possible scenarios (negative or positive) and create a plan of action to overcome potential obstacles and/or distractions.  PROACTIVE is the opposite of REACTIVE; anticipating the future VS reacting to the past.

An attorney once told me a good lawyer never asks a question that they don’t know the answer to.  This is a true example of being proactive.  In sales I find myself being proactive on a regular basis.  When dealing with customers I have to be prepared to anticipate their needs or be prepared to overcome possible resistance to my services.  When dealing with our manufacturing team I find I am more successful when I present possible business opportunities to them in way that they will be excited about and willing to support.  I find dealing with my teenage children the biggest arena requiring proactive thinking, as teenage kids know everything…

Having a BE PROACTIVE mindset is a healthy trait.  It provides a sense of comfort and confidence to the individual which translates to their direct team members.  Leaders tend to be proactive, while followers seem to be reactive.  Proactive thinking allows an individual to take comfort in the execution of the mission when preparations are in place for many possible scenarios.  Proactive individuals are motivated by the joy of accomplishment achieved by the end result.

Examples of Proactive Traits:

Keep a calendar with all goals listed and timelines for completion.

Plan big projects in sections. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete.

Avoid procrastination at all costs. Never remain idle.

Think one step ahead of others – Vision is key.

ALWAYS have short-term and long-term goals. Evaluate these regularly.

Learn from the past but do not dwell on the past, successes or failures.

Be detail-oriented. Have a keen eye for details.

Be confident in your actions. Maintain “in control” confidence.

Listen to feedback from others, don’t just hear them talk.

While I find all of the YKK Fundamental Behaviors vital to my success and development as a member of the YKK team, there are a handful that really resonate with me professionally; BE PROACTIVE is one of those few.  It is vital to take a proactive approach in all areas of business.  Business changes rapidly and the most prepared participants can manage that change and excel.

Kelly Rowe
Government/Safety Account Manager
Tape Craft Corporation