How do you feel about short-term thinking?

Does it make you shake your head with pity for the poor saps who don’t see the big picture?

Does it make you squirm, imagining the pressure of a looming deadline?

Research suggests that humans accomplish the most with short-term goals. The pressure of the looming deadline (or crisis) works for human beings. Evolutionarily, we look at the mastodon in front of us—we’re hungry, we’re threatened, or both—we don’t do well considering the herd that might be miles away.

If you want to save money, for instance, make a weekly goal, not a yearly one, or you’ll put it off and end up saving less for the year. If you want to quit smoking, think in terms of not having a cigarette this morning; this week will come one morning, one afternoon, one evening’s success at a time.

For your business: What can you DO today, to create changes THIS MONTH? To bring value to your customers and bottom-line growth to your balance sheet, starting NOW? We all know one-year and five-year plans are great, and goodness knows I’m a huge advocate of that larger Vision! But a year, and certainly five, will bring changes you can’t see.

As Seth Godin recently put it, in a wonderful post on Predictions, “… being ready for anything is the only rational strategy.”

So you have a big dream, a master plan, for your business, and you’re ready for anything.

To accomplish your goals, shorten your timeframe.

You’re hungry, you’re threatened—aren’t we all!—and there’s a mastodon in front of you now. How are you going to tackle it?

Wendi Kelly gave me the close for this post, just as I was putting it to bed earlier this week: “What is the one thing you can do today, this hour, this minute to make your plan happen? One Baby Step. Then another. That’s all you need to get the ball rolling.”

When your back’s against the wall, maybe you squirm, but you rock it out, too, right? You do what you’ve got to do. Because it’s NOW. And somehow, that makes it doable.

Embrace short-term thinking as you go forward with the big picture for your business. Once you’ve bagged the mastodon in front of you, you’ll be ready to take on the whole herd.

How do you feel about short-term thinking? Is it part of your business planning now, or do short-term goals scare you to death?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson