Start with a few target items that align with the big picture.
There are so many factors that go into building and maintaining a scalable business that has the potential to thrive year after year. As these factors cause a leader’s to-do list to grow, where do they start when it comes to making important decisions that will impact the future of the business?
Below, 10 experts from Fast Company Executive Board discuss how leaders can effectively balance their short- and long-term goals in their business decision-making process.
1. PRIORITIZE STRATEGIC PLANNING, FOSTERING AGILITY, AND ALIGNING ACTIONS WITH THE BROADER VISION.
Effective leaders balance short- and long-term goals by prioritizing strategic planning, fostering agility, and aligning actions with the broader vision. For example, in our data analytics organization, we deliver immediate value to clients, while investing in long-term innovation. This approach drives sustained growth, keeping us at the forefront of the industry. – Krishnan Venkata, LatentView Analytics Corporation
2. APPLY THE 80/20 RULE.
Implementing the 80/20 rule is key. Ensuring that it is measurable in business terms is super important in my opinion. Lastly, I also lean toward what impacts the customer as a priority. – Gabrielle Lukianchuk, ABBYY
3. BE CLEAR ON A FEW SPECIFIC GOALS.
Be exceedingly clear on your strategic priorities, which must be the significant few. Having too many goals undercuts your focus and confuses your teams and customers. Develop key, strategic questions that your leaders and teams can embody and answer to make sure decisions are in alignment with strategic goals. These approaches are hard work, but they clarify goals and enhance success. – Karl Giuseffi, Talent Plus Inc.
4. DETERMINE WHERE YOU WANT TO BE IN THE LONG TERM.
Begin by determining where you want the company to be in the long term. This helps inform any necessary short-term decision-making and ensures decisions are balanced and not short-sighted. For example, if you take on a new client at a decreased scope due to market conditions, it’s essential to right-size the client’s team from the start. This ensures that your company is not over-servicing the client and can scale and grow your business when the market recovers. – Geri Johnson, Next PR
5. FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE AND FOSTER A CULTURE OF LEARNING.
Effective leaders balance short-term and long-term goals by setting clear priorities, investing in the future, focusing on the big picture, continuously assessing progress, encouraging innovation, and fostering a culture of learning. By doing so, they can make decisions that align with their long-term vision while also achieving short-term success. – Paul E. Wolfe, Paul Wolfe
6. ENSURE THAT SHORT-TERM ACHIEVEMENTS CONTRIBUTE TO THE LONG-TERM OBJECTIVE.
One effective way leaders balance short and long-term goals is through strategic alignment. They ensure short-term objectives serve as stepping stones toward a long-term vision. For instance, a long-term goal may be company expansion. Each achievement in the short term should contribute to the overall long-term objective, creating a roadmap toward the ultimate goal. – Tony Martignetti, Inspired Purpose Coaching
7. MEET OR EXCEED THE CHALLENGE IN THREE TO FIVE AREAS.
First, it’s important to establish a visionary, overarching, and measurable business challenge and three to five areas of focus that will empower your organization to meet or exceed the challenge. Then, leaders can set strategic goals for each key area that are quantifiable and time-based in the short and long term. Then, leaders craft initiatives and action plans to meet these goals in the time periods. – Emily Howard, Cheetah Strategy
8. BE FLEXIBLE TO ADAPT WHEN NEW OPPORTUNITIES ARISE.
Leaders should be able to balance short-term and long-term goals in their business decision-making process by making sure they have a clear vision of the future. Leaders should also set goals that are achievable, with milestones along the way. They should also ensure that the organization is prepared for change by building in flexibility so that it’s ready to adapt when new opportunities arise. – Rudy Mawer, Mawer Capital
9. REVIEW PROGRESS REGULARLY AND MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION.
As a creative agency, we balance short- and long-term goals by prioritizing actions that align with our company’s vision and mission, regularly reviewing progress, and adapting our approach based on data and intuition insights (read experience). We maintain open communication across the collective, fostering a learning and innovation culture. This allows us to stay agile to seize new opportunities. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion
10. ASK YOUR TEAM HOW SHORT-TERM DECISIONS AFFECT LONG-TERM GOALS.
The key to ensuring long-term success is to focus on the core mission and avoid allowing short-term decisions to detract from overall goals. Asking your teams how short-term decisions affect long-term goals is a key pillar of decision-making. If you openly debate those tradeoffs, as hard as they may be, you end up putting more effort toward focusing on your mission and achieving long-term goals. – Daniel Brillman, Unite Us