On balancing long and short term strategies with vision

Of all the challenges that a leader in an organization faces, one of the most maddening is balancing the long term and short term strategies. Indeed, it’s not unusual to come across those responsible for providing strategic decision who wishes if they could just focus on one or the other: either long term or short term strategy.

But the reality is often not as compliant as they may wish. For one thing, the long term strategy of companies may itself get redefined at times, particularly when you are presented with unexpected scenarios that challenge certain concepts based on which you devised the long term strategy in the first place.


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Lack of balance between long and short term strategies is a source of conflict 

As for short term strategies, more often than not, one may confuse a temporary goal for a strategy. In fact, the bigger the hierarchical complexity, the more probable this confusion becomes. So much so that the ability to recognize a strategy as opposed to a goal itself becomes a prized attribute in a leader.

As for the long term strategy, bogged down by devising goals and seeing to it that they are realized, the leader at this point may not as well have such a notion inside his or her mind at all.

Going beyond goals to hit upon the strategy

So, as you are navigating through the morass of goals you have set for yourself and your team, and which are necessary for the smooth day-to-day functioning of the organization, how would you balance the long term and short term strategies? 

To tackle that question, you should first look at the method you use to devise your short term strategies.

Let’s take a slight but relevant detour here. In modern parlance, it’s usual to speak about humans and nature as separate from each other. The reality is that just as humans have the power to shape our surroundings and the world we live in to a good extent, we are at the same time very much a part of nature. As much a part as any other living thing. 

But the view of nature being ‘other’ from humans- which for some reason has come to be the predominant mode of thought in this context- often causes more problems than it’s worth, making it easy for us to inflict rampant destruction on nature- after all, it’s easy to hurt what’s not a part of you.

In a similar manner, a certain viewpoint about how long term strategy relates to short term strategy creates problems. 

Shifting your view of strategy

The typical view entails that long term strategy is ‘another’- quite divided, or rather completely disjointed from the short term strategy.

But the reality is quite different. At least, it would be if you are doing things the proper way.

The reality is that short term strategy is a part that would help finish the picture of the long term strategy. Put another way, it’s part of a jigsaw puzzle, as much related to the bigger picture- the long term strategy- as the clouds are to the sky.

So, while setting the short term strategy, it’s important to ensure that it pertains to the long term strategy. To use the jigsaw puzzle analogy again, if it’s the picture of a parrot that you are trying to build, there’s no point in adding a tiger’s claw as part of the puzzle- It just wouldn’t fit.



True Personal Vision

Such mismatch between short and long term strategy could be avoided if the latter is based on your True Personal Vision.  Each and every person has a vision that could be discovered only within their own self. It’s called True Personal Vision.

This vision forms the destination towards which you should lead the organization. And every short term strategy should move the organization towards the destination- realizing the True Personal Vision. You can use this objective to gauge whether you are on the right strategic path. And if it is, the short term strategy is inherently balanced with the long term strategy.

Temenos Vision Lab or TVL is a unique session developed by Temenos+Agility to help you realize your True Personal Vision. Developed based on 25 years of business consultancy services, TVL is conducted by some of the best leadership coaches in business with extensive experience in conducting transformative sessions.


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