Shifting the focus: Short to long-term

The average lifespan of a company is now under 20 years. Over 40 years less when compared to the 1950s.

Disruption is common. No company is safe if they think they can do what they are currently doing and expect to live forever. They need to be constantly looking to the future.

Take Uber for example. Their new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, recently outlined his long-term vision for the company to expand into all forms of transportation – including buses and bikes.

However, many brands get so caught up with what’s right in front of them, they don’t see the bigger picture. It leads to too much of a focus on the short-term with not enough on the long-term.

It’s the type of environment that many brands foster. An example of this being performance incentives.

Bonuses for reaching yearly targets are common. On the surface, it’s a good employee motivator. However, this can create tunnel vision as employees focus on quick-wins for the business instead of considering what is best in the long-term.

It’s not to say that yearly bonuses are not a good idea, but it is a case of reframing the mindset.

Incentives for contributing to the long-term vision of the company should be given a greater emphasis than the quick-wins. Employees shouldn’t have to send a sales email out at the end of the year for the sake of it, if a better, longer-term approach is an option.

They need to feel empowered to push for what’s right and be supported in doing so.

Companies have a responsibility to shift the focus. And it needs to stem from the top, down.

It’s no easy task. Those running the company often have to juggle the realities of showing investors the return on their investment but at the same time trying to best position the company for long-term growth.

The two often don’t go hand in hand.

But with the financial year-end approaching for many brands, it’s the perfect time to focus on the long-term.

Don’t wait another year.

Shift the focus now.

Joe Slevin is a Senior Account Manager at Soul