It never seems to stop - people around me are rushing deadlines, month-end closures and are stuck in one "burning platform" after another. I feel many people are stuck in immediate return, the quick buck and focus on financial returns (of the month, the day, the minute?). How does this lead to long-term success? Apparently not.
In my observation, this short-term focus is getting more ingrained in many company and economic structures. When is the last time that you saw a financial report that shows the trend of the last 3 years? Even country GDPs are simply compared to the previous quarter and the same quarter the previous year. And in today's volatile world, that doesn't say much. Further, is GDP (or EBITDA) even the best leading indicator for success?
A key question here: how can we become more sensitive about the long-term impact of our actions? Can we justify short-term results that jeopardize long-term objectives?
Our world is a complex and interwoven ecosystem; a simplification in financial figures will only lead into wrong directions and actions. What we want is lasting success: for our company, for our employees, for our customers, for our planet and for the society around us. Best explained is this with the Exponential Age, where innovative companies are spending a significant amount on R&D - tinkering to find the best solution knowing that this approach will not lead to short-term return but rather building the ramp to an exponential success in the future! This is based on the capability to change oneself and drive change in a rapid, sustainable way!
How to do that? First important step, work on an inspirational Leitbild - an imagination of a future state that guides your business! This is focusing on making your customers successful - and any partner in your business ecosystem is in the end sort of a customer, right? And this success is build on your people, on business success, on technology, and considers the planet and society we are embedded in.
Based on this, we can seek short-term results that are aligned with our long-term Leitbild. Any shortcut will jeopardize your long-term success.
To answer the initial question: try to imagine what your company will look like in 20 or 30 years. Take a step back and focus on doing the right things. Then you will find ways to catapult your business forward; instead of taking that shortcut.
"If we stopped investing we would be out of business in 10-15 years", Werner Vogel, CTO Amazon
Receive our monthly themed summaries of our thoughts: click!
Tim is a change practitioner in the area of innovation and excellence. He is working with teams to accelerate innovation, collaboration and agility.