How to be More Proactive and Less Reactive: Lessons from a 5th Grader


By Doug Parker, Raving Partner and Back of House Systems Lead Auditor, Finley & Cook

I am a proud parent of a 5th grader. This year in school, she and her classmates have a Social Studies teacher that kind of has that “old school” mentality about education. She is the kind of teacher that wants kids to want to learn. If they are not going to put forth the effort, she’s not either. My daughter REALLY struggled with this at first. She had been so used to being spoon-fed in her educational career that figuring out how to make this new effort on her own has been difficult, to say the least. We have spent most of the first semester reacting to her grades and trying to figure out how to be proactive moving forward.

Unfortunately, similar issues are a harsh reality of the casino world. Far too often folks throughout our industry are so busy reacting to the newest technology, the most recent financial statements, or the latest audit findings that we cannot be proactive about finding solutions to issues that truly are not problems YET. Just so we are clear, there are times when we must react to something. Appropriate and effective reactions are often what keep our businesses afloat. The point here is that if we can get better at being proactive, we can spend less time reacting and more time being profitable!

Here are five simple thoughts that might help you be more proactive and less reactive:

1. Think outside the box.

Yes, I know this is cliché. It is just too critical not to mention it. As long as we are limiting our business to the metaphorical (or even literal) box that it has always been in, we cannot expect different results. Maybe it wasn’t actually Einstein, but someone very wise said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If you want new results, do something different!

2. Accept the past and move on.

If you have some magical way of changing the past, stop reading and go sell your service. In the real world, there is nothing we can do to change what is already done. Sometimes we try to re-create successes of the past, keeping new ideas from taking shape. You can – and absolutely should – learn from what’s already happened. Just don’t waste any time trying to change it. You can’t. Look forward.

3. Learn something new.

Besides learning from past experiences, take time to educate yourself. Learning, studying, and understanding your business will really set the stage for new results … especially when you combine this with thinking outside the box!

4. Listen.

Reactions are often a result of being forced to listen. We hear our results and react accordingly. Being proactive requires you wanting to listen. Listen to your team. Listen to your players. Anyone can run a business on paper but running a business in real life means considering all the variables and the problems that come with those variables. You cannot understand, much less overcome, those challenges nor seize new opportunities unless you listen first.

5. Set some goals.

To be fair, this requires you to be proactive AND reactive. Analyze what has happened (this is the reaction portion), then decide where you want to go from there. Part of being proactive is determining where you want to go. Do you want to make more money? Retain more players? Decrease costs? Eliminate audit findings? Set your sights on something then use the four tips listed above to accomplish it.

Since the beginning of the semester, my daughter’s Social Studies grade has improved from a 74 to an 82. We still react when she makes a poor grade on a test. But we are no longer waiting around for test scores to make a difference. We are being proactive. And the results are showing it.


Raving is proud to be partnered with Finley & Cook and we highly recommend and trust them to work with our best clients. They’ve been in business for over 70 years! For information on their outsourcing, accounting, audit & assurance services, please contact Amy Hergenrother at [email protected] or 775-329-7864.