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How to be strategic when everything is reactive...

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

As an operator or business owner in hospitality, it can often feel like all we do is just react, leaving us feeling like we're not moving forward. The lack of progress can really work against our motivation. It is however possible to be strategic, even in the most chaotic of environments. Here are some steps to help you be proactive and stay ahead of the game:

Prioritise: In a reactive environment, it's easy to get bogged down by the endless stream of tasks, other people's needs and responsibilities. To stay ahead, prioritize your tasks based on their level of importance and urgency. This will help you focus on what's most critical and avoid being pulled in too many directions at once. The tasks you tend to avoid are usually the ones that you should be doing. Remember that we seek out comfort when we are stressed and like the feeling of accomplishment so be wary of what you deem to be a high priority. It may not be the best long-term use of your time.

Plan Ahead: Take the time to think about what's coming up, or maybe what got in the way previously, and plan accordingly. This will help you anticipate challenges and be ready to respond effectively. When you plan, you're able to think more critically about the situation and make informed decisions, rather than just reacting on the fly.

Stay Flexible: While planning is important, it's also important to stay flexible. The world around us is constantly changing, and the best-laid plans can quickly become outdated. Be open to adjusting your approach and be prepared to pivot when necessary. Expect the unexpected with open arms. When we're surprised we have derailed it can lead to a negative state of mind.

Stay Focused: In a reactive environment, it's easy to get distracted. Stay focused on your goals and priorities, and avoid getting sidetracked by less important tasks or distractions. This will help you stay productive and focused on what's most important. Think about where distractions typically come from and put measures in place to mitigate them from occurring.

Communicate Effectively: Good communication is key to staying ahead in a reactive environment. Ensure that you're communicating effectively with your team and stakeholders and that everyone is on the same page. It's important that others understand your intentions to be more strategic so they can support you. This will help you work together more efficiently and effectively, and avoid miscommunication, confusion and resentment.

Stay Calm: Finally, it's important to stay calm in a reactive environment. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and make impulsive decisions when things get hectic. Pause, breathe, and think. Creating cognitive space to reflect on decisions and next steps is probably the most important learning in business and in life.

Good Luck!


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