Become an expert at Predictive Management and you can prevent problems from occurring in the first place, rather than having to solve them. There’s no question that problem-solving is part of every manager’s responsibilities, but applying after-the-fact solutions is less impressive than preventing them in the first place.

Reactive Management

Reactive managers deal with problems as they arise and they are admired for their ability to quickly get resources - people or machines - back on track.

You are good at it if you are:

  • Decisive and able to act quickly
  • Able to find the root cause of a problem
  • Creative and can develop solutions, rather than getting bogged down in symptoms
  • Innovative and able to find new ways to solve problems (a little leadership)
  • Stay calm during times of crisis

Predictive Management

Being able to anticipate problems is an important skill for a manager. The more problems that can be prevented, the fewer resources will be needed to react to problems.

You are good at it if you are:

  • Thoughtful and analytical
  • More aware of the important, not just the urgent issues
  • Able to identify patterns in data and failures
  • Focused on “why” something happened rather than “what” it takes to fix it or playing the "blame game"
  • Able to keep the big picture in mind

How to Become a Better Predictive Manager

Schedule a meeting with yourself about your biggest, most recent problem and allow yourself to think about it for a while. Ask yourself?

  • When did it happen most recently?
  • What caused it?
  • What warnings or indicators were there before it happened?
  • What did we do to address it then?
  • What could we have done to prevent it?
  • What can I do to prevent the chances of it happening again?

Start monitoring the warning signs you came up with and apply the solutions before the problem gets to be a big one. When the signs next appear, apply the solutions before the problem becomes a big one.

Don’t totally abandon reactive management. You’ll probably still need it - just not as much.

The Benefits of Predictive Management

I don’t have to tell you how much less it costs your company in time and money to prevent a problem from happening than to fix it if it does. Many managers still believe the main part of their job is to solve problems. Set yourself apart from the crowd. When one of your peers asks you “how do you do it”? (meaning avoid problems), smile graciously and tell them. It's good for other managers, for the company and it won’t hurt your career a bit either!

Another problem avoided! Ka-ching!