If you’ve been following my blog, you know what I often talk about 10-year visions and having a strong idea of where you want to be and what you want your life to look like in a very holistic sense. This includes business, your personal life, the time you’re spending, where you live, and how all your pieces fit together. I believe it’s very important that we have these types of visions that we’re executing on to get to where we’re going, but one mistake I see a lot of people making is they do planning in very short increments. Two to three-year plans seem to be very common because two to three years is very visible. You can see where you are now and you can see where you want to be in two to three years. The temptation for planning for such horizons is large. It’s easier, it’s more visible, and it’s sufficient. It may not be great, but it’s sufficient. It gets you your next paycheck.
What happens when you do planning over a 10 or 15-year horizon, and only looking forward to the next two to three years? What happens at the end of 10 to 15 years? It’ll be much like setting out to sail across the Atlantic Ocean and looking two to three days ahead and figuring out where you could most easily get to, and then looking another two to three days ahead and figuring out where you could most easily get to, and then looking another two to three days ahead to see where you could most easily get to. You can see if you were operating a ship and doing planning on two to three days at a time, you might capture great winds, you might make great time, and you might get somewhere quickly, but the question is, is that where you want to go? Was that the right path? You’re going to end up in a lot of random places. You may end up 500 or 1,000 miles from where you intended to be.
The same thing can happen in business. A lot of times businesses plan two years ahead and capture the immediate opportunities that are available, and then plan another two years ahead and capture the opportunities available. The problem with this strategy is, much like that sailor who’s a passenger with currents and weather conditions, you become a passenger to your customers, your vendors, economic conditions, and opportunities that others are selecting for you. This is not a way to run a business. You really want to know where you’re going and have a lot of intentionality of getting there. We as business owners have a lot of control over our lives and our futures. It’s our job to direct them because if we don’t direct them, they will direct us. Many of us left the corporate world or other opportunities to control our own destiny and to go where we’re going. If you’re not working a 10-year vision, you’re not getting where you want to go, you’re not accomplishing what you need to accomplish.
What will you do differently? How will you build your skills and abilities? How will you capitalize on having a long term vision that you can execute upon?
Join us in the comments below and let us know what your experience has been. Have you ever got caught up in short term planning that has had bad, long term effects? Let us know what your thoughts and experience have been.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer Julie Tijerina.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can email R. Shawn McBride or (214) 418-0258.