The short term view begets short term results. A reaction. A process. An action done. It moves from A to B but rarely helps get you to C. It helps you get to B but then you need another short term view to get to C.
Multiplicity of short term views begets similar and more. Reactionaries. Processes. Actions done. It rarely gets you from A to B with any ease. The multiplicity of short termism frustrates the majority. If you get to B you’re just lucky… It’s tiring work. Then you still need another short term view to get to C.
Yet the long term view nearly always makes it harder to get from A to B. It creates more questions than answers about the short term…
- Firstly because the aim is Z, not B.
- Secondly because the end point may never actually become Z; things change & we know this.
- Thirdly because it doesn’t tell us how to make that first step from A to B.
The long term view is not about reactions, processes & actions yet it will never be fulfilled without them; the products of short term views. A curious dichotomy isn’t it?
If we use a short term approach we may never achieve our long terms aspirations.
If we use a long term approach we may never create the activities to produce the first steps.
Two systems. Two approaches. Two performance outcomes. Two mentalities. You need them both.
What ties them together?
Principles. Values. Aspirations.
Who is responsible for nurturing and feeding both systems, together?
You possibly think this is the sole domain of leadership… It’s not. That puts an unreasonable and impossible burden on too few. It excuses you to not take responsibility to sustain both systems, together.
Leaders have a responsibility to facilitate, to provide guardianship, to stretch aspirations, to create connection, to lubricate the system, to ensure the hard conversations are being had. Yes. All that and more. But like all of us, put too great an expectation on too few without broader support and you’ll likely fail.
Take responsibility. Nurture and feed both the short term and the long term systems.
Make clear the principles, values & aspirations. Hard but rewarding work.
And never forget…
Two systems. Two approaches. Two performance outcomes. Two mentalities.
You need them both. Short and Long.
Great post David!
It’s also important how the ‘short term wins’ motivate you and your team to aim for the long term goals. Seeing ‘B’ is easy, but to picture ‘Z’ and the journey in-between is tough and requires dedication and sometimes a shifting focus that leaders need to manage carefully.
I’d like to add that I believe trust is vital to leading on these journeys, if there is trust in a leader it is easier for individuals to be able to nurture short and long term goals alongside their leader, without trust they begin to stray, losing focus and disengaging completely.
Thanks Natalie! Fully agree with your point on motivational short (quick) wins. In the context of the long term view they work wonders.
Trust is indeed very important and I’d say not just trust in the leader. Trust between team members (& beyond) is also critical for positive action. I’ve got a post on teams coming where I want to emphasise the importance of (enough) purpose, trust & honesty. Critical factors in my experience.
Thanks for commenting!
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Really looking forward to your next post. Keep in touch. Best wishes Natalie
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