Posts Tagged ‘Startegy’

Remaining Competitive over the Long Road

by Guy Ralfe on November 26, 2009

long_range_targetThanksgiving marks the beginning of the 5 weeks of holiday season in the USA. For many it will be a time when people’s focus is on the near term line in the sand, marking the end of the year – this will have people working to make/protect their targets, others resigned and looking forward to seeing the back end of this tough year and hoping for a better start next year and many public companies working every angle to close the quarter with the best results they can.

Whatever the case people are suddenly driven by the appearance of a tangible situation that they can  now envision. What we need to be mindful of is that what we do now in a tactical manner is still part of fulfilling our longer term strategic plan.

I’m a subscriber of Rajesh Setty’s newsletter (you can subscribe here) where he just  shared a beautiful story about “The Daffodil Principle” read it here. What this story exposed for me was the power of a long term vision and also that we need to achieve and produce over our entire careers and not just focus on the here and now. We would all like the quick win – like winning the lottery, but statistically that is as close to impossible as you can get – don’t get me wrong people do win the lottery but there is nothing other than buying a ticket that you can control the outcome of that situation.

Ultimately most of us are going to need to produce for our full careers to meet our ambitions. We must not forget that we are also playing for a longer term game, our careers, as we approach the year end. Think carefully about the consequences of the actions you may choose today, to meet your short term objectives, that you don’t have to live with the consequences after the horizon has passed.

I see similar action taking place on projects in the same way as careers. Projects have a lifecycle that we can equate to a career, but when we get close to delivery dates, slack is gone from the system, pressure is everywhere and people make rash illogical decisions to keep a delivery date. This action is the same as what happens in the marketplace approaching the year end deadline. As in projects, the consequences of shortsighted action always surface later and the consequential cost to resolve quickly becomes far more than the cost to have acted correctly in the first instance. An example I hear at this time of year  is how sales are completed in the closing weeks of the current year, which have a significant impact on the start of the next year when the fulfillment comes into play.

My message here is very similar to the ancient story of the tortoise and the hare, just that today’s market also requires some traits of the hare mixed in with the tortoise. Whatever we do we have to act with regard for the future consequence but at the same time remaining better than our competitors.

Remaining ahead of the competition is beautifully demonstrated by this slideshow shared with our organization today in preparation for the coming year. Enjoy and wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.