Is A Finance Mba With A Sociology Ba Worth It Getting From Short-term to Long-term Thinking

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Getting From Short-term to Long-term Thinking

Management success is ultimately determined by creativity and teamwork at all levels of the organization and how they react to the environment. None of this is possible in the long term unless there is clarity of purpose or mission and a real commitment to achievement and the changes required.

With this in mind, it all starts with a leadership vision of where the organization should go. This vision must be shared by all employees and transformed into strategic initiatives based on this vision. Success requires Strategy

What is Strategy?

Strategy is a statement of intent, one that defines where you want to be in the long term. Strategy used to be “the art of planning and directing major military movements and war operations”. In business, strategy maps out the future that determines which products and services you will bring to which markets – and how.

Why Have a Strategy?

Having a strategy allows you to ensure that day-to-day decisions are in the long-term interests of the organization. Without a strategy, decisions made today can negatively impact future outcomes. A strategy encourages everyone to work together to achieve a common goal Most organizations have a strategic plan at the highest levels, but some do not communicate it all the way down.

Looking at the future

Today’s business environment pressures people to complete urgent tasks, meet daily goals, and deal with short-term problems. This is called short-range or operational planning, and too often takes precedence over planning for the future. Strategy focuses on what lies ahead, seeing where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Even if you already know what products and services you are bringing to which markets, you still need a strategy to make it happen.

Engage the Team

To get the best from your people, it is important to work within a clear framework that details how they are expected to help you develop and implement a strategic plan. Think of the framework methods and processes as a map that teams can follow to achieve success. This process framework will help you encourage your team to come together and work towards a common goal. It will also help you promote their personal development by teaching them to think strategically.

What You Need To Do

There are three distinct phases to developing a new strategy:

  • Analysis
  • Planning
  • Application.

It’s important to devote time and effort to the first two stages, but also to maintain momentum during implementation to ensure ultimate success.

Thoroughly Analyze

During the analysis phase, you will gather as much background information as possible to help you make an informed decision. This stage is very important because the facts you have will influence the direction you decide to take. You will analyze what is happening within your organization, looking carefully at aspects of yourself and other parts of the company that may impact the plan. Your goal is to make a clear statement of the strengths and weaknesses of your position as well as a list of opportunities for the future.

Planning Strategy

Once you have gathered all the necessary facts, the next step is to make strategic decisions that will bring you closer to the overall goal. You need to consider where you have an advantage over the competition and set boundaries within which you will operate.

The decisions you make will help you define your future financial position and develop a realistic budget.

Implement Strategy

During the final stages of strategy development, you will determine, based on your analysis, what you will do and how you will do it. It is possible to achieve your goals with minimal changes to the way your team works. On the other hand, you may find that success depends on making big changes and learning new skills. Don’t make the mistake of working so hard on the analysis phase that planning and implementation receive a less thorough effort – this will result in an ineffective strategy and incomplete implementation.

Thinking Long Term vs Short Term

The ability to distinguish between short term and long term thinking and strike a balance between the two is an integral part of strategy. Understand the importance of both in strategic planning and it will be easier for you to achieve the right combination of the two.

Know the Pitfalls

Short term planning deals with the present or a few weeks ahead, while long term thinking takes you far into the future. If you focus entirely on short-term success, you run the risk of long-term failure.

Achieve Balance

Striking the right balance between short term and long term thinking takes effort and discipline. If you cancel the strategy meeting, it will have no short-term impact. It became clear that unless a team was determined to devote time to strategic issues, short term operational tasks would always take priority.



Work Strategically

Strategy is an ongoing process; even when your plans become operational, you cannot neglect planning for the future. Set aside one day each month to discuss maintenance and plan development with the team. The most successful managers allow at least ½ day per week to implement the strategic part of their job.

Preparing for Strategic Success

An effective strategic plan has accurate information, strong ideas, and people who are committed to the bottom line. Involve the right people from the start, and then encourage them to research the facts, and brainstorm for ideas to achieve the best plan.

Engaging Key People

An effective team is essential for a successful strategy. Involve the entire team from the start in the planning process so they feel part of the process. Managers sometimes avoid team planning at this stage because they do not believe that everyone involved will play an important role in implementing the strategy later on. Team planning is always useful; it allows you to assess team members as well as giving them the opportunity to decide whether they are happy working on a new strategy as it develops, or whether they feel they could make a greater contribution in another environment.

Involve Others

The people with an interest in or influence on the new strategy are known as “stakeholders”. Establish rapport with them, as they often provide experience or information, or can assist in analysis and decision making. Strategic planning often requires people from different areas of the organization to formulate a plan together. This spirit of cooperation produces the best results.

Getting Commitment

Once you’ve developed a strategy, it’s very important that the team doesn’t start to lose interest during implementation. It is your role as manager to ensure that everyone understands the importance of a long-term strategy and is dedicated to making it happen. First, everyone has to agree that a new strategy is needed. Second, everyone involved in the strategic process must feel confident that, guided by their manager, they have developed the right plan. Third, each person must feel personally committed to carrying out the strategy. Make the team aware that operational pressure is no excuse for missing the target date involved in implementing the strategy.

Getting the Facts Right

The importance of basing your strategy on the right information cannot be emphasized enough. Bad data can lead to a crisis when the true facts come to light, meaning the whole plan may need to be changed. The same goes for using out-of-date facts or failing to gather all the information. Remember that a bad strategic plan can lead to long-term failure and disappointing short-term results.

Avoid the Guess

A successful strategy must have a strong factual basis. Relying on guesswork or forecasting can cause a strategy to collapse, so avoid this at all costs, no matter how convincing it may seem. Get all the relevant information before reaching a conclusion. The STOP(TM) process will help you do this.

Brainstorming Ideas

Coming up with an idea is the cornerstone of strategic planning, whether it’s thinking up key trends to monitor, pinpointing possible choices that could be made, or suggesting new, innovative ways to gain a competitive advantage. Throughout the strategic process, you and your team should meet regularly to brainstorm ideas.

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