We value snap decisions in this world.
The person that can make decisions on the fly is usually revered.
There is a slight, but important distinction, however, when it comes to making decisions. Successful people are usually the ones that think about the long-term.
That’s usually the case when a quick decision is needed or when there is time to think things over.
Take a moment and consider the successful people you know in life. The ones that you admire most. Are they really good at thinking long-term in life?
Sure, we all slip once in a while and put short-term considerations first. Maybe some more than others. But usually we realize that it might have some consequences in the long-term. Sometimes it’s worth it and other times we just prepare ourselves for the pain.
When Things Go Bad
This is life. Things will go bad.
In business, things will go bad. It usually seems to happen just as things seem to be settling down and we let down our guard. Then the bad things seem to stick around a while.
I’ve been around a few successful people and one thing that seems to stand out when things go bad is that they’re able to think long-term. They don’t make snap reactions to make things a little better in the short-term if they know it will cost them even more in the future.
They’re able to step back and realize that in almost all bad situations that things really aren’t as bad as they feel in the moment. If they can they let things cool down a little bit so they can focus on the potential long-term implications and make the best decision they can.
Here is one example I’ve seen in the retail world. Obviously, retail can be affected by the economy. When things start going south, which happens from time to time, retail sales can go south.
A tendency is to lower the prices. This can bring in some extra short-term sales. Certainly that helps, but it’s hard to go back to regular prices after offering a discount. It can be even more challenging in the future even during good times.
What I’ve seen others do in this situation is to understand the long-term. They might look for new products that are available at lower prices. Maybe with less features or smaller or something like that.
That’s not easy and it’s more work than simply lowering the price of what you already have, but it can keep the company stable into the future.
Routines & Habits
By now you might be wondering about the successful leaders that are very tuned in to what’s going on with their companies at all times. Every month. Every day. They watch the numbers. If the sales team doesn’t meet the goals for a month the leader might raise some hell.
How is that looking into the future?
Successful leaders seem to always have a vision. They think about where they want things to end and they work their way backwards. And they know the importance of routines and habits. The only way to achieve something in the long-term is if you’re committed to action every day.
So if a leader has a long-term vision for the company that has a sales component they’re going to work backward and look at what needs to happen every day and every month to achieve the goal. So missing a sales month or quarter is a big deal.
The leader will want to get to the bottom of the situation. What’s happening? Is this really a short-term aberration or does something need to change so things get back on track.
Leaders also get suspicious if things go a little too good. Let’s say that sales come in way over expectations one month. The leader will likely be just as focused on why this happened. They’ll want to know if this could actually be harmful in the future. Does the company have the resources? Can it get them? Will it be strain on the company and add too much risk?
The success of any entrepreneur is tied to the long-term. Yes, you can have short-term success and enjoy each day, but the best always seem to have an eye on the future. They’re looking at what they want to have happen and they bring it back to the daily habits and routines. They work hard to make sure things stay on track. And if something does happen in the short-term they make decisions based on how it will impact the company in the long-term. It’s not easy, but that’s one of the key things that separates the successful from those that fade away.