Just take a stroll through the canals of almost any corporation and you would no doubt have heard phrases like “naval-staring” or “too much introspection”. Some even go as far as calling this obsessive focus on self, and the challenges that present themselves to you today, as full-blown rumination. But what do you do when, as a founder and leader of your business, you simply cannot get your head out of the day-to-day operational, tripping you up and holding you back from planning for the mid, and thinking about the long-term?
We share 4 ways to get your head focussed on the future, and out of the day-to-day.
- Find your story – and enlarge it.
Ask any strategic advisor and they’ll ask you what your business story is. And as an excited entrepreneur just starting out on the journey, you could probably rattle your story off with anticipation and expectation, void of any hesitation, in less than a New York minute. But as time has moved on, your story has developed, grown, expanded. But for many, that story has become something that was done a long, long time ago, and in fact, has taken directly the opposite route – it has become small, focussed on tactical, based on quarterly results. CEOs are great at telling stories – after all, that’s what earns them investment, resource, attention. But overcoming the first step of getting your head out of the day-to-day and focussed on long-term growth, you need to develop a story that is focused on the long-term, and much bigger than any monthly deliverable. According to the Harvard Business Review, a “purpose-driven story of value creation that is clearly and powerfully told is a CEO’s first line of defense against short-term pressures”.
- Shift your dialogue
Aligning your focus is heavily dependent on the way you speak about it. We’re not talking about your own language – we’re talking about who you speak to and how you engage with them. Assuming you’ve spent time to understand exactly what your long-term vision is, getting that vision communicated to your team, including everyone else in your ecosystem which could include partners, affiliates, suppliers, investors, and any other key stakeholders that share a vision for your business. And that means that you need to be able to describe the long-term value on offer for each of them. But the biggest stakeholder to start with is your customer. Sharing your long-term vision with your customers and understanding the impact that may have on their buying methods, the value they receive from you, and their vested loyalty in the services you provide, will be a quick indicator as to whether you’re on the right track or not. The beauty of shifting your discussion towards the long-term is that you use the short-term to change the building blocks to build a vision that works for your customers, stakeholders and ultimately, you.
- Set realistic targets and hit them.
One of the quickest ways to ignore a long-term goal, is to not be able to achieve a short-term target. It only takes a few misses to instil a sense of impossibility – and that target that has been set, that looms over your head, drifts further and further into the milky-way. That’s why the art of goal-setting is something that never becomes completely accomplished. There is always a better, stronger, more secure way to assign and decide on targets that suit your business, its culture, and its strategic objective. After all – you need a team that is motivated to achieve. And if they achieve the small ones, brick-by-brick your long-term vision is realised.
- Get back to the basics
Never forget why you started your business in the first place. Think back to that moment where the birth of the idea realised itself. Whether it was over a cup of coffee with a friend, or after a late-night snack at the kitchen table, that “I think I’m onto something here” feeling had you sleepless with excitement as you started to build a mental picture of something new, exciting, and achievable. And somehow, in the day-to-day humdrum of office life, many CEOs and Founders appear to have lost that initial vision of what they would hope to achieve. If you’re struggling to see the long-term – chances are – you’ve become too involved in the day-to-day that your excited idea has become buried in operational hassle, financial reports and office politics. Take a break, get back to the drawing board, identify WHY and before long – you’ll be thinking about your business with renewed excitement, and long-term focus.
Our team of seasoned business executives have been in your shoes. We’ve run businesses, and we’ve had to adapt strategies. We’ve grown businesses and we’ve helped some business leaders exit. We understand the challenges you face – and so we’re best-placed to help you to get you back on track – and focussed on the your business growth for the long-term. If you’re ready to look forward, then speak to us today – and let’s get started.