Take time to focus on long term goals

April 2nd, 2014

In Caddy Shack II Randy Quaid’s character is famous for saying “Don‘t hit it long … No, no, wait. Don‘t hit it short … Wait, hit it long but let it go short”

So, which should you focus on? The long term or the short term?

The somewhat obvious answer is that it is good to learn to take time to focus on both.

Today I was invited by my friend Dave to attend an Economic Outlook Breakfast that was held by NBT Bank in Scranton. Why did I go? (see this, and this) At this breakfast Ken Entenmann was the speaker and he, in a pretty entertaining way, showed how forecasting economic upturns and downturns can prove to be pretty fruitless and also how to focus on the long term rather than worry about the short term.

It can become easy in our digital age to get wrapped up in how quickly the world moves. And, it is true that if you don’t focus on what is happening right in front of you that you may indeed miss an opportunity or find yourself behind. However, there is also the very true reality that not all that much has changed week over week or even year over year but that to recognize some trends you’ll need to look at decades of time.

How might this apply in starting a business, or building a product, or creating a team? While it is very important to make sure of the day-to-day, it is equally important to raise above that level periodically to see how things are going long term. And then make any needed adjustments to make sure you’ll hit your longer term goals later on down the road.

What will your team be working on in 6 months? If, in 6 months, your team is doing exactly what they are doing today — will your business have accomplished what you wanted it to? What small adjustments can you make today, this week, this month, or this quarter that will only have a measurable impact in a year?

Perhaps you could take a morning or an afternoon each month and focus on questions like this. This way you’ll be able to focus on the short term without sacrificing the goals you may have for your business long term.

I do try to do this for our team, however, I was glad to be reminded to do so at this morning’s event. Thanks for the invite Dave!