Flexible: refers to being responsive to change and able to adjust to changing circumstances.
Proactive: refers to a management style that incorporates dynamic action and forward planning to achieve particular objectives.
It is important for a manager to be flexible and adaptable when considering the internal and external influences on a business.
External influences: An effective manager needs to be proactive and anticipate external influences on a business. All businesses need to be flexible and proactive to accomodate economic influences which will effect their cash flow and revenue.
An example of a manager making a poor reactive decision to an external influence was in 1986, NASA management had to decide whether to launch the space shuttle Challenger even though temperatures at the launch site had fallen below the levels normally required for a safe launch. Lower-level engineers expressed their concerns. However, top-level NASA managers decided to go ahead with the launch, a decision that resulted in the deaths of all the astronauts on board.
Internal Influences: Things such as the type of good or service may need to be subject to change. If a manager is reactive to the market a business will lose customers to competitors who are proactive - Especially in the technology market.
An example of reactive management towards internal AND external influences is Blackberry. BlackBerry’s failure to keep up with Apple and Google was a consequence of errors in its strategy and vision. First, after growing to dominate the corporate market, BlackBerry failed to anticipate that consumers — not business customers — would drive the smartphone revolution. Second, BlackBerry was blindsided by the emergence of the “app economy,” which drove massive adoption of iPhone and Android-based devices. Third, BlackBerry failed to realise that smartphones would evolve beyond mere communication devices to become full-fledged mobile entertainment hubs.
Flexibility and adaptability are both linked heavily to a businesses success because they involve anticipation which allows a business to stay ahead. If a manager is reactive rather than proactive a business will experience a delay in updating which can cost a business a lot of money and customers.
If a manager is flexible and adaptable they allow themselves to quickly and efficiently transition a business to meet consumers wants and needs, which is especially relevant in the era of technology which is developing at such a rapid rate