• Foreseeing and intervening in anticipation of future needs or changes
  • Initiating and preparing beforehand rather than reacting afterwards
  • Taking steps ahead of time based on training, knowledge and experience


Each week I make time to write comments about one of the Funds For Learning GuideMarks. My comments usually focus on either explaining what the GuideMark is, offering examples of how to put it into action, and/or and the positive impact that GuideMark can have on the lives of those around us.

I take time to do this because I believe that intentional reflection on these 18 characteristics can help Funds For Learning staff enjoy more meaningful and successful careers, experience greater personal development, and so on. My comments are also shared with clients and other individuals outside of Funds For Learning with the hope that it will be beneficial to them as well.

Even though I have been preparing these weekly commentaries for several years, I have never – not once – had someone come to me with an action item that was an immediate and direct result of a GuideMark commentary. At best, an initial reaction may be a “thank you for the encouragement” or “I am going to work hard to improve that area this week.” I’m sad to say, but the weekly GuideMark commentary never produces an immediate return on investment.

One might wonder if the weekly GuideMark commentary is worthwhile. If it doesn’t yield immediate results, why do it? The answer is simple. The GuideMarks shape our company. We provide better service to our clients and we are a better, healthier place to work because of them.


How can we reconcile the fact that the GuideMarks don’t produce immediate results, yet most Funds For Learning staff tell me how beneficial they are? The key to understanding their benefit can be found in this week’s GuideMark: proactive. When we are proactive, we anticipate needs, initiate action and prepare beforehand rather than reacting afterwards.

The Funds For Learning GuideMarks were a proactive, preemptive response to a problem that hadn’t yet materialized. The GuideMarks were created to help Funds For Learning stay on track. As our company grew, we knew it would be important for our staff -- old-timers and new-timers alike -- to stay grounded in the service principles that got Funds For Learning through its first 15 years. We knew that maintaining a high-quality staff, keeping customers and continuing to provide topnotch service for another 15 years would not happen by accident. Therefore, rather than waiting for a serious problem to arise, we decided to tackle the problem ahead of time. Thus, the GuideMarks program was created.


The Funds For Learning GuideMarks remind me of the importance of being proactive. A problem tackled ahead of time might not even see the light of day; and, in that case, the lack a problem is NOT a problem; it’s the best feedback you could ever ask for.

How do I know that the GuideMarks are worth the investment each week? I look around and see that we are on the right course; and that is all the feedback that I need.


Key words and phrases

Acting in anticipation; Causing something to happen; Taking steps based on experience; Foreseeing; Preparing beforehand; Intervening ahead of time; Initiating instead of reacting; Farsighted planning and action

Opposite terms

Shortsighted; Reactionary; Improvident; Myopic


GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

Copyright © 2012 Funds For Learning, LLC. About the Funds For Learning GuideMarks.

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