“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Yogi Berra
Why is long term thinking so rare?
There is nothing more important to your individual career advancement, let’s call it “career happiness,” than long term goals.
There’s nothing more critical to the success of an organization than long term goals.
Once you’ve defined your goals, you have a guide for your behavior to use every day, every week, every quarter and so on.
Seems so simple.
But human nature is anything but simple.
Perhaps long term thinking is a source of fear for most people. I mean, no one gets out of here alive, if you think that far ahead. Many are very afraid of that fact. So perhaps this fear of the future prevents even mid-term thinking, since it brings one ever closer to the unthinkable.
If this is accepted, then we can say fear of death prevents the masses from setting long term goals. It isn’t nihilism or hedonism, but fear, that creates the mass of short term philosophers in our midst.
Food for thought for another time.
For long term goals to be effective, you need to use them as the foundation of your objectives all the time. I know my team at work hears it from me whenever someone brings a new idea to the group. “What are your objectives?”
I ask this question every time. Not to stifle innovation, but to keep on track to our long term goals. Without this guide, it is amazing how out of focus one person, a team or an organization can become. This is a key to leadership success.
If you’re running a small business, a team, a department, or a division, there’s nothing more fundamental than making sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.
So to answer my opening question, long term goals alone do not create success. You have to use them. All the time. Mix in a few brilliant ideas along the way, some luck and you’re holding the keys to success.
At last, something simple we can all work on!