Erasing a Culture of Reaction in an Organization

Erasing a Culture of Reaction in an Organization

Organizations suffer greatly from competition and are less able to play in complex and dynamic operating environment when prevailing culture in such organizations is reactive. The management led business is short of good leaders, competence and creativity necessary to drive the business towards north consistently.

Growing and sustaining position is a constant problem to a reactive organization. The business is often faced with myriad of problems which include customer complaints, loss of revenue, litigation, loss of opportunities, sanctions or fines from regulators, high operating cost, high employee turnover, wastages, inefficiencies, inability to meet stakeholders’ requirements among other complex problems.

No clear cut strategies are in place in a reactive organization. The future is not anticipated by the drivers of the business. Employees who are key stakeholders experience stunted growth, frustration and are often expected to be sympathetic to the situations the organization finds itself. For short, such businesses do not last. They are annihilated in no time.

Many questions crop up when x-raying a reactive organization. However, there are many underlying causes of reactive tendencies and consequences the organization is faced with. This state of an organization in itself presents an opportunity to change managers, business improvement specialist, and those who derive satisfaction from positive attitudes in a workplace, results and achievement of objectives on consistent basis. The desire of these professionals is to see a transition from a reactive organization to a proactive organization. An organization where a culture of pro-activeness is promoted, embraced and common to all.

Below are some of the steps to take to transit a reactive organization to a proactive organization.

  • Own the problems
  • Conduct a review of cultural state of the organization and existing practices. Quantify!
  • Identify different stakeholders , engage and carry out gap assessment
  • Develop corrective action plan with stakeholders
  • Train
  • Apply relevant ISO standard globally
  • Implement
  • Obtain data on leading and lagging indicators
  • Review
  • Inform all on progress and celebrate


Events in recent times and retrospection, have shown that it is wise to be proactive than being reactive.

Dennis Muilenberg, CEO Boeing, admitted systems failure as the main cause of the two horrific 737 Max 8 crashes in two years. Dennis said,’ We own it and we will fix it ‘.  This is simply reactive.

Effects on Boeing Air crash are immense. Lives have been wasted. Shares of Boeing are crashing daily. Billions of legal liabilities await Boeing. Orders have been cancelled in some cases. Production has been cut monthly. Only a strong organization can survive the effect of reactive tendencies and management style.

There are other lessons to learn from Boeing and others chaotic situations organizations find themselves. The right culture –proactive culture – doing the right thing at the right time and well enough, in a work place is the responsibility of all stakeholders.

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Olumide Ajibawo

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