Blog Post Counterintuitive…Become a Long-term Success

Counterintuitive…Become a Long-term Success



Counterintuitive…Become a Long-term Success

FACT: Successful Leadership is a most counterintuitive commodity.
It was in late 1981, the country still in a deep economic recession, that I first noticed a forlorn-looking office building on Nashville’s world famous Music Row. Our business was still young, and so was I—just 29. Money was tight. But, at a glance, I saw what could be done with this property. So, I inquired and found that the price, while reasonable, was still more than I wanted to pay. So, I made an offer they could easily refuse—the trifling sum of $40,000. It was such a lowball, I wasn’t sure they’d even answer.

The real estate agent wasn’t happy…but she took it to the owner. Just as I thought, they responded, “No,” to my ridiculous $40,000 offer…but, stunningly, said they would sell it for $44,000! Wow! What a deal. I grabbed it.

In early 1982, we refurbished the building and moved in by the spring. Over the years we enlarged it to two stories. This is where I ran my business, The Franklin Group, Inc. This is where we created a host of award-winning TV, radio, and print ads. This is where some of the most important relationships of my life were formed. This is where we closed millions of dollars of business. Whew…if these walls could talk!

Now I’m sitting on the floor of my empty office, writing this chapter, knowing it will be the last bit of work I’ll ever do in this building—the place I called home for nearly 20 years of my life. Since I sold the company in 2000, other businesses have occupied this space, but it’s always held a special place in my heart. Tomorrow, we will close the sale on this property. And yes, I’m a bit melancholy. But, mostly, I’m happy. It’s time to do it.

How all this happened is what I want to focus on here, because it all had to do with taking the long view. (I’ve written about this at greater length in an earlier book, Stop Running On EmptyHere’s What Life Has Taught Me…
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the need to focus on the long-term rather than the short term.

Every failure in my life has been because of short-term thinking. This may be true for you, too. It is for most people.

But, a person might say, “No, that business failed because its biggest client pulled out.”

Yes, that may be the surface reason. But sometime in the past it’s likely that a decision was made not to aggressively seek more new clients. Why was that decision made? Because not seeking new clients was easier in the short-term than going out and doing the hard work of finding them.

That’s why drugstores have all that junk at the cash-out stands. They know we’re likely to grab a candy bar or a magazine on an impulse…and spend money we could have used for saving or helping some one else get a meal.

We gain most of our weight not because we really want to look like Sumo wrestlers. We do it because sitting on the couch eating chips and watching reruns is easier in the short-term than kicking ourselves out of the bed and going to the gym…and focusing on the long-term gain.

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.”

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 in the short term.

Here is the great truism: Whatever feels best right now (in the short-term) will likely hurt you in the future (the long-term.) Be counterintuitive.

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