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One thing the leaders of all successful businesses do when putting corporate strategies in place is think about long-term strategies. Too often, American companies are too focused on the near term. They’re simply not looking into the future.
Certainly, companies also need short-term strategies as they operate daily. However, companies can’t focus on short-term strategies to exclude long-term strategic thinking.
Many things can happen that affect how successful (or not) a company will be. Therefore, companies have to develop what I call “stretch” strategies that look into the future.
Those strategies may be aimed at a product or marketing strategy that the company is not doing today. They can even direct them to something that doesn’t exist today.
It’s like driving a car on a busy highway. You can’t simply concentrate on the cars 10 or 20 feet ahead of you. Rather, while you must be aware of the traffic immediately surrounding your car, you must also check the road ahead. Are there curves, steep hills, or red lights for which you must account?
When it comes to driving, It turns out that when your focus is more nearsighted (such as on the car in front of you) than far-sided, you are more likely to make a larger volume of micro corrections. This causes heightened levels of back-and-forth car drift, which leads to consuming more energy and focus on keeping the car between the lines. If you focus on the horizon or off in the distance, your ride will likely be smooth and straight.
Business is like that. If you are focusing only on short-term goals rather than long term, then you may end up wasting valuable time, energy, and resources.
Strategy Must Be the Driver
Another way of looking at it: It all starts with strategy. Consider strategy as your company’s driver.
And strategy provides the structure for your company’s operations.
The structure then drives the process.
The process drives people.
Finally, people drive systems.
And if it’s not working out, do you have the right people? If that is the case, develop the right people or go out and find them.
Jesus (Jes) Vargas is the Principal at DPMG Corp in Sacramento, CA. Jes and his team consult, coach, and mentor business leaders in strategic planning, leadership development, and project management. If you are concerned that there is not enough long-term strategic thinking going on in your company, Jes can help. Call Jes at 916 712 6145. Or you can email him here.