Long-Term Strategy, Short-Term Action

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Long-Term Strategy, Short-Term Action

You’ve probably heard some variation of the statement that “Your future self will thank you for what you did today.” The idea is to do those things that will lead you toward your future success. Don’t skip that workout. Read that book instead of just chilling in front of the TV. Don’t buy those shoes you want but don’t really need. You get the idea. Small, everyday decisions add up to bigger successes. And, no, your business is no different. So how do we know how to act in the short-term to achieve long-term results?

It’s pretty obvious that in order to be guided toward a goal, you first have to know what that goal is. A specific target weight. A certain amount of savings and quality of life. A bigger vocabulary. And when it comes to your business, you need to know what those longer-term goals are. Is it a revenue target? Is it the market(s) that you serve? Is it the wayyou serve your target market – a level of customer service? Is it how your brand is defined and is perceived?

Let’s think about what that means in everyday practice. As a business, you and your team need to clearly define what your top strategic priorities are. And, no, it can’t be a large number. A team needs a small, well-defined set of objectives to go after. This set of strategic objectives is at the heart of your strategic plan. And this is where most leadership teams struggle. With the entire universe of options before you, how do you define the ones that become your goals? It begins by recognizing that these goals are indeed a finite set. It’s been said (and it’s so very true) that if everything’s a priority, then nothing’s a priority. This type of cloudy thinking leads to achieving very little.

Imagine you’re swimming in a lake. You can see the shore in the distance all around you. On one shore there looks to be a beautiful resort. One shore looks like a pristine white beach. One shoreline has a set of quaint lakeside cabins. Some lakeside shores just look like they are overgrown with reeds and weeds. Some of them are appealing in their own way. And clearly some can be rejected quickly. Is the best strategy to swim one way and then the other. Swim left. Swim right. And then left again. Head toward the white beach. Head toward the resort. Wait. Now head for the cabins. Will that help you arrive at a shoreline where you truly want to be? Or will it result in exhaustion without ever reaching the shore? Is that how we want to run our businesses? Do this. Do that. Do a little more of that. What’s the likelihood that these activities will result in a strong, healthy, sustainable business? Pretty low, right?

How about instead you lead your team through a process that results in choosing a finite, prioritized set of goals that best fit your business? I’ve written about this process a number of times before. Check out this article or this one or this one or any of these. Begin by re-engaging with your mission and vision. Understand the needs and challenges of your market and how your organization uniquely addresses the needs of that market. Build a brand around that unique proposition. Set strategic goals to shoot for that will serve as the mileposts that define your progress. And then look at the activities you and your team reengaged in today – and ensure that they are steps toward those goals and objectives.

So, let’s commit ourselves to being true leaders. Let’s embrace the idea of forced choices. Let’s quit trying to be everything to everyone. Let’ stop trying to do a thousand things at once. Let’s consciously choose our destination. Let’s choose a path to that destination that will get us there. And let’s start taking decisive steps today that will get us there.


I LOVE to help leaders improve and businesses grow!

Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let’s explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas. You can contact me on our Contact Us page, call me at (713) 907-8429, or email me at  BCohen@IDiscoverConsulting.com. I hope you are enjoying these blog posts. If so, please help spread the word. Tell others about IDiscover Consulting Group and my blog. Share these posts. Comment on them. I’d really love to hear your ideas!
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