When you are thinking about your long-term goals, look at the actions you are doing right now to see where they lead. Often in our projects, our business, and life in general, our current efforts will never lead us to the long-term goal that we seek to achieve. You must align your current actions with your long-term goal or else you will never reach your long-term goal.
Aligning current actions with long-term gain gives you a lot of motivation in your day-to-day work. It also helps you make adjustments to your long-term goals as you discover new insights about yourself. You might have wanted to be a doctor, but as you work in a health clinic (short-term action, aligned with your long-term goal), you might find that you just want to help disadvantaged people. You can save yourself eight years of medical school, and embark on a new long-term goal of being the CEO of a large supportive housing corporation.
Two Areas Where Our Projects Don’t Align Short-Term and Long-Term Needs
Check your projects to make sure that you haven’t fallen into these two pitfalls:
Our actions don’t align with our key results.
Are you working on a project where the measured results are going to be efficiencies across the organization? Do you have massive project meetings that waste 30 people’s time across 4 time zones? Do you spend more time coordinating meeting schedules than you do on project work?
Your project actions aren’t aligning with the key results of the project. If you are measuring efficiency, your project should reflect this. Your short-term actions, in the project, model the long-term results that you are looking for outside of the project.
Our short-term investments don’t align with desired long-term returns.
Are you running a project that will increase revenue by $2 million next year? Are you organizing your employees in the most efficient way? Do you think nothing of spending $200,000 for a new piece of equipment out of the project budget, but balk at the idea of spending $1000 on a training day for your staff out of this year’s training budget?
The investments that you are making aren’t aligned with your long-term results. Spending $200k on a new machine is a good idea. But so is spending money to train your staff. It is gong to make them happier, and more effective at what they do. If you don’t spend the money because it will look bad on your budget reports, you have allowed short-term thinking to over-ride your company’s long-term benefit.
Don’t sabotage your long-term by short-term actions that don’t line up with where you want to go.