Upon reading McKinsey’s podcast transcript about ‘Go Long’/ ‘Leading For the Long-term, in candidness, there is nothing wrong with thinking short-term. After all, given our mortality cards, we build companies [ and our careers] to grow [them] right and fast, and that is subsumed in short-termism.

In retrospect, all our life’s major – and important decisions – are a blend of applying the cardinal rules of short-term results-driven thinking to sustain in the long-term. And so, branding cannot be left isolated from the way we project ourselves to the world – be it your own or your company’s: it’s a part of you that alters with time and context.

However, while we enjoy the passive voice echoing in our ears of the instant meals, travels, indulgences and get-rich-quick schemes, somehow we stay in a disconnect with what we ‘really’ want – and when.

The constant flux of when and what helps us intelligently shape up our long-term sustenance strategy – in business and life. And then the ‘active’ voice talks about the momentum – what we are doing to ‘now’ to envisage a better tomorrow.

The hunger and success of ‘now’ is balanced by the patience to thrive in the wonderment of future.

And this is exactly what we need as brand champions – to think big and act small but incrementally better until our little steps become giant leaps to complete every milestone we set out for ourselves.

That said, here are my observations of how we can – as brands – effectively channelize our short-term thinking into fruitful long-term sightedness.

  • Obsess over your strengths – and get better at it. That way, you grow faster with certainty.
  • As a subset of the above point, leave the delegation of things that really aren’t you or your immediate focus.
  • Normalize with uncertainty – and leave the rest to your curiosity to meander its way into long-term growth and longevity of your brand.
  • Stick to your brand’s DNA – that’s all that you have – because that is independent of any product spiel that you sometimes flounder with.
  • Decisiveness is the key to your brand’s success. Don’t be wishy-washy with how you want your brand shape up. Take your calls when you have to accelerate; you have total control over it.
  • Enjoy the process, but take note of your ‘momentum metrics’ – that will keep you at pace with your long-term vision.
  • As Ann Handley puts it, ‘Leaders are not just readers; they are writers, too’ – so keep building your brand’s narrative and choose your apt platform to communicate what you got. This is the only way to build a sustainable brand narrative – even when the competition in your ecosystem tightens up.
  • Read a lot. Learners stay afloat when disruption strikes up in the market. Build your agility muscle – it will help you in keeping up with more information and deducing what is relevant and what can be re-engineered towards other business avenues.
  • And lastly, have your Web real estate presence visible and known to your audience. (Hints: blog and guest blog).

Over to you.

Do you experience the perils of short-term thinking?

What are you doing to constructively ‘go long’ with your brand approach?