Deliver the short term, feed the long term
For the 2016/17 season Football/Soccer’s English Premier League will share in proceeds of the $7.8 billion UK TV rights deal, a 71% rise. The average tenure for a manager in the league is now 15 months. Coincidence?
The commercial world is going the same way. Leaders are being held more and more accountable for their immediate results with shareholder revolts on executive pay and leaders becoming commonplace. Is this likely to abate? You decide.
What is always true though is that if you want to succeed in the mid to long term you can’t focus on the short term alone. There must be a plan, long term goals, a strategy. Equally the best strategy in the world won’t get you far as patience will wear very thing very quickly if you are not delivering at least acceptable short term results. The challenge is to find the balance between the two.
Firstly it would seem folly to focus on the short term alone (unless you know that you are only in position briefly). Carving out some of your limited time to create goals and gain alignment is essential. Next you need a simple, focused strategy to deliver against these in manageable steps. A simple set of measures, or scorecard if you like, is essential and review times built into ongoing operations will make these part of what you do.
Doing this exercise in short, sharp sessions with your team will break down the seemingly huge task of ‘building a strategy’ into something that provides guidance and confidence that everyone is headed in a common direction. Once reviews show results everyone will feel better that you are together stronger.
Keeping the build, execution and review of your strategy simple is essential. You can’t afford to waste time on something that doesn’t influence your team’s to do list. If the actions are not valuable in the short term, long term ‘projects’ will never get done – except maybe the night before the review meeting. Your team must appreciate how each small step is valuable now and to your long term goal.
You may even start to see individuals investing a few minutes to embed a task as they complete it for the first time, knowing that will save 10 minutes every subsequent time they do it.
And soon you’ll be winning in the short term, while progressing to the top of the division. As every great sports team does.