What does that title have to do with being proactive?
Not a damn thing. In fact, the title is nothing more than a way for me to get you to think “What the heck is that guy talking about?”
Did you see the feature image? Go look. Ok, forget it. It suggests something to us about needing some preventative maintenance.
That’s the trick, isn’t it?
Likely not exactly the same thing as being proactive but I look at it this way; by being proactive and applying some preventative maintenance we can certainly improve upon what we do and how we do it.
Am I cracked? No. I AM NOT, my dear friends.
Preventative maintenance traditionally seems to be reserved mainly for systems; mechanical equipment, elevators, escalators and the like while being proactive is typically based in the behavioural sciences.
Can we combine those and apply both to ourselves?
We are, as humans, a system that needs maintenance (the older we get the more apparent THAT becomes) and we, as humans, have an innate intellectual need to learn, accept, share and act on influence.
That’s why. Well, am I cracked? You decide.
So, do you have the proactive gene?
It’s kinda small and somewhat undetectable by the naked eye but you can tell if you have it. If you do (and I know you do) then you will inherently understand that being proactive is our ability to anticipate, change and self-initiate behavior in our lives and in our work place (can you tell I stole a definition from somewhere?). We can, if we choose to, anticipate action and take charge of the situations in our lives. Like anything in this life of ours this comes naturally to some and not so naturally to others. I see it all the time; in myself and in the people around me.
Being proactive, by its nature an adjective to an action, requires us to think. You can’t schedule it and stick it on a calendar.
I ensure that our clients can pay us on time by reviewing, managing, correcting and then avoiding billing issues before they arise. That’s me being proactive.
Preventative maintenance, to me, is a planned activity that can be scheduled.
I go to the gym, take some supplements and try to eat right so that I can stay healthy, active and avoid the health issues that would arise if I were to ignore them. That’s my preventative maintenance plan.
Do you work out regularly?
Like I said I go to the gym. More like drag my ass there at least three times a week. Yeah, let me repeat that; DRAG my ass. I am not going to bulls**t anyone here and try to tell you I am some form of perfection.
No way, Jose (that’s hose-eh, for all you Canadians out there).
It’s a necessary evil although I have to say I feel pretty good afterwards and when I was at the gym yesterday I had a chance to read a couple of articles in the March/April issue of CoreNet Global’s: The Leader. For those of you that don’t know it please click here. The context could help.
……crickets……I KNOW, right?
Well, not really.
There were a few articles that discussed the need for a strong workplace strategy; the need for firms or businesses to understand the needs of their workforce, their demographics and their work styles in order to anticipate how their workplace needs to respond to the different attitudes of the 3 generations that exist in the workforce today.
What’s apparent from these articles is that businesses really need to look closely at the declining Boomer workforce and the emerging Millennial workforce to ensure that their office environments are structured in a way to serve the workforce of the future.
It’s a good topic and a relevant one…..if you’re a designer. Or a business owner. Or an employee. Hell, it’s just plain old relevant.
Why would a business build to accommodate its current workforce without thinking about how things might change? They wouldn’t. So, neither should you. Consider that a standard lease or real estate transaction has an average longevity of 10-15 years. How much is your or your client’s workforce going to change in that period of time? A significant change will start to occur sooner than we think even though many Boomers are staying in the workforce longer than anyone expected them to. Are we in a unique period in the knowledge workforce era?
I think so.
When in our history have we had such a palpable transition in workforce that anyone can remember?
We now have Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y working together in the same places and we all know that they work differently. I am not going to debate the differences and try to anticipate their exact needs here. I can’t begin to try to tell you I know the intricacies of each generation; however I work with all three, I can figure s**t out and I am an unlikely bridge between the Boomers and the Millennials which puts me and the other 61 million North American Gen X’ers in a unique position.
Well , anyway, I think I get both sides pretty well.
I know what drives a Boomer (getting a Beamer) and I understand the lifestyle that suits a Millennial (well maybe not but I know where you are at all times). All kidding aside, managing teams in that environment helps me to see how the argument for truly understanding your workforce and not only its demographic is critical to the success of the future of a business specifically from a space and real estate perspective and more importantly from a human resource and productivity perspective.
After all, we are knowledge workers, aren’t we?
So, let me ask you is being proactive critical to making intelligent design decisions? Is informing our clients to address their space considerations important when looking at the emerging trends the knowledge worker will demand in the future?
I think you know the answer to those questions.
We need to inform ourselves to stay relevant and offer relevant solutions. That’s why a little preventative maintenance in your skill set development to catch up on what trends are emerging in your business communities will go a long way to keeping your clients informed.
Staying ahead of the curve is where it’s at.
- How do you see the workforce of the future changing how we work?
- How will technology force changes to the office landscape?
- Will office environments evolve beyond the tangible space constraints we place on them?