Proactive Companies: Anticipating the Environment and the Market

After reading the book Proactive Companies: How to Anticipate Market Changes, written by professors Leonardo Araújo and Rogério Gava of Fundação Dom Cabral, and reflecting on their messsage, I decided to dedicate an issue of Management Tips to the theme of corporate proactivity. First, let’s reflect on the meaning of “proactive.”

Proactive is an adjective that defines someone who takes action ahead of time, avoiding or solving futuresituations and problems. Proactivity would, therefore, be the act of foreseeing problems and taking action in an efficient way to avoid them or attenuate their effects. The proactive person realigns actions in the present according to their anticipation of future events.

Proactive behavior is associated with steering clear or taking care of likely issues before they even happen. By planning and executing ideas and tasks, the proactive person can avoid situations damaging to the company, for example.

Proactive is the opposite of “reactive.” The reactive person reacts to, therefore after, an event or action, making their response, their action, a reaction.

OK, you say, but what about a proactive company – how does that work?

In the book the authors state that “proactive companies anticipate change, responding to it before being forced to, or even deliberately creating change itself.”

A proactive company places greater emphasis on forward-looking strategic planning, as opposed to reactive strategies to cope with problems or manage opportunities that arise. Proactivity assures the business a number of advantages when it comes to exploring opportunities and mitigating problems. Because of these traits, proactive companies anticipate environmental changes and, consequently, changes in market conditions.

Proactive companies adopt proactive strategies. Strategies are proactive when they are based on anticipating needs or future events by adopting actions designed to manage such needs before they arise.

It’s a business approach that involves anticipating changes in the market and the competition and making the appropriate changes in one’s own organization.

Let’s look now at the main characteristics of a proactive company.

Araújo and Gava discuss the seven main characteristics of proactive companies. They:

  • Anticipate events
  • Emphasize voluntarism
  • See the future as something to be built
  • Seek to break the rules of the game
  • Define markets
  • Talk to the market
  • Guide the market

Did you like the topic?

For further study, I recommend the book Empresas proativas: como antecipar mudanças no mercado. (Proactive Companies: How to Anticipate Market Changes) by Leonardo Araújo, Rogério Gava (Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier, 2011).

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