Steps to Management Success – Step 91: Don’t Lose Site of the Horizon

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 8th, 2010

STEP NINETY-ONE

Don’t Lose Site of the Horizon

Meetings, decisions, things to do—there is no shortage of demands on your time. And many of them may well have the virtue of being urgent, thus requiring your immediate attention—but you don’t always want to have your nose so closely to the grindstone.

WHAT IT MEANS: As a manager and/or business owner, some of your most critical responsibilities are to think, plan, and invest long-term. Not only do you need a long-term plan to grow your business, but you have to have the vision and willingness not to apply a short-term measuring stick. In other words, some of your proposed projects—whether it’s customized database software or an e-marketing initiative or a new strategic partnership—may take a while to pay off. It may well be that some of your plans with the longest payback period may ultimately be most beneficial for your business. Many publicly owned companies are mismanaged because of this “planning myopia”—their shareholders expect immediate and continual results—but yours shouldn’t be one of them. If you truly want to guide your business toward long-term success, you have to think beyond the obvious, beyond your inbox, and beyond the current quarter.

ACTION PLAN: Devote at least two hours a week to “thinking long.” Where would you like to see your business six months from now . . . in a year . . . in three years . . . and in five years? Be as specific as possible. What will it take for you to get there? When would those things need to get done to keep you on pace?

EVEN BETTER: Get your senior management team involved. This can often be done by arranging a strategic offsite retreat wherein you can brainstorm various scenarios, address your most critical long-term challenges, and develop a consensus as to how to best proceed. There are many well-qualified consultants who can help develop and facilitate such a program, and many first-class resorts that can provide a suitably inspiring and out-of-the-box site.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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