Long-Term Success in Leadership…It’s All So Counterintuitive
The earmark of contemporary Western culture is an unmitigated drive for instant gratification. That’s why we drive cars we can’t afford with money we don’t have to impress people at traffic lights we don’t know. We routinely see CEOs running up stock prices by doing things that will hurt their companies in the long-term.
But there are, as there always have been, a relatively small group of people who understand the counterintuitive nature of successful leadership. True, long-term corporate success comes to those who invest in their companies’ futures. True personal success comes to those who refuse to “take care of #1 first” and attempt to help others achieve their goals. To paraphrase the late Zig Ziglar, “You can get all you really want if, first, you help others get what they really want.” Zig was a guy who really lived with an eye to the long-term.
My point is a simple one: Success doesn’t necessarily come to the best looking, most pedigreed, or best educated. Be it does tend to come to those who have a long-term vision and eschew short-term gratification. It’s difficult to do this in the short-term culture in which we live. Marketers know most people will opt for short-term gratification. This is why Wal-Mart has all that junk next to the cash registers. They know, from experience, that lots of people will grab something they don’t need at the last minute…because it gives them short-term gratification. But remember, Sam Walton didn’t build his empire with this sort of thinking. He built it by doing the hard things (long hours and living well below his means) for many, many years…and by keeping his eyes on the long-term prize.
Here’s my challenge to you: Determine to try this strategy…and do it for the long-term. Why? Because even long-term thinking won’t work if you give up and only do it for a short-term.
Here is the great truism: Whatever feels best right now (the short-term) will likely hurt you in the future (the long-term.) Think about it.