Due to the overwhelming response I received from my last post on leadership (/snark, but seriously, thanks for the email mention Cracker), I thought I would continue to riff on that leadership theme. See, to my way of thinking, there are two ways to deal with a problem; react or anticipate. Both have their plusses and minuses. Maybe I’ll have a point here, keep reading to find out.
Reacting is a passive stance, but reactions are important. Your reaction defines the outward perception of not only your position, but also you. Bill Clinton is a MASTER at the reaction. His management of the government shut-down in ’94 was a testimony to his ability to react and make the aggressive Republican Congress look like a bunch of tools. Truly brilliant. Still, his reaction did little if anything to help the Democratic Party at large. Sure, it made HIM look good, but the party was still spun, as it is to this day, as a faltering mass of indecision. Don’t get me started about the Monica thing. That was a bad moment…
Reaction is your fail-safe. Reaction is where you go when you have nothing else. Reacting does not allow the opportunity for “re-definition”, except in very rare cases. Reaction ties you to your opponents definition of you, and in most cases, strengthens that position.
Then there’s anticipation. Spell it out, just like Dr. Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror…AN-TIC-I—-PATION. Anticipation is daft sexy. There’s a perception about anticipation, and that’s that you’re on the ball and covering your bases. Anticipation is what a leader needs to truly succeed. It’s like that old debate idea that if you can’t argue your opponent’s position then you’re not ready. Anticipation needs some preparation, but when it comes right down to it, that’s life. If you can’t anticipate your opponent’s next three moves, then you not only don’t know them, but you also don’t know yourself.
Get with the program people, this ain’t rocket surgery, as a former employer used to say. Get in front of it, and drive!