Developing Long-Term Thinking Mindset in Business Teams

It is easy for us to create short-term plans and take life as it comes. This is because, plans with immediate pay-offs strike us as much more attractive than plans with less immediate pay-offs even if they essentially show much greater results in the long run. This article focusses on developing long-term thinking in business teams and benefits of doing it.

Published By: Jambar Team

Date: 24 Nov 2020

Developing long-term thinking in business teams

We, humans, are wired to come up with short term solutions to pacify the urgency of any problem. These in-the-moment solutions don’t necessarily solve the bigger issue which we fail to acknowledge until much later when it is staring right at our face.

Plans with immediate payoffs strike us as much more attractive than plans with less immediate payoffs even if they essentially show much greater results in the long run.

If we think long term, we can accomplish things that we may otherwise not be able to accomplish.

What is Long-term thinking?

Long term thinking is mostly about progress and sustainability. It is about thinking strategically and analyzing how our actions impact our tomorrow.

If you don’t want to be stuck where you are and want to achieve remarkable success in business, and in life, long-term thinking is your key.

Billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are prime examples of successful people with long-term visions.

Musk sees the possibility of traveling and living on Mars, and Bezos has invested $42 million of his own money to build a 10,000-year clock.

While you may not relate with them, for their goals may seem too out of your ally, the fact that these billionaires focus exceedingly on long-term thinking should tell you how powerful it is.

Practical ways to develop long-term thinking in teams

1. Reverse-engineer goals

To attain any kind of success, it is important to set up both short-term and long-term goals. To achieve these long-term goals, it is imperative to start with the end-goal in mind and walk backward.

Reverse-engineer by visualizing the destination and creating realistic and measurable goals that will help reach the destination step-by-step.

Show your team members how short term and long term goals work together and brainstorm how you can reverse-engineer any task or project with them.

2. Encourage long-term thinking

Discuss the short-term and long-term effects of any decision as a team. This will encourage them to think about the cause and effect of actions and behaviors.

Reward your team members for deep insights into long-term problems or consequences of any decision.

3. Encourage market research

Market research is not an add-on; it is a necessity. It is the backbone of any powerful and sustainable business strategy.

Market research gives you a thorough understanding of your competitors and ensures that you are always a step ahead in the game.

It gives you knowledge about where your industry is heading in the future, and create strategies to keep up with trends and stay relevant.

4. Shift focus from monetary rewards

More often than not, most decisions are solely taken with monetary returns in mind.

While that may be the primary pursuit, shifting focus from it will help your team explore other perspectives and improve their ability to create more sustainable strategies.

Like, analyzing what your users want and what triggers them will help you align your products or services according to their wants and needs.

5. Manage time efficiently

When life gets busy with priorities and distractions, it is not unusual to get sidetracked.

Value your team’s time and encourage them to create daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Design a roadmap for how your team will reach these long-term goals.

A roadmap will make sure your team doesn’t lose track of the long-term goals while responding to what’s urgent at the moment.

6. Evaluate the actions taken

The key to success is focusing not just on the task that is important at the moment, but also on tasks that contribute to the future.

Evaluating your team’s actions will help understand current priorities versus what the priorities should be. After analyzing these actions with the team, optimize the schedule/roadmap, and work on them.

7. Invest in team building

Regardless of the size of the company, team building sessions are important. These sessions encourage the team to bond with each other and develop better relationships.

Your team members will understand each other’s thinking process, which will help them collaborate and brainstorm much better during working hours.

Benefits of Long-term thinking

1. Builds Trust

Solid long-term strategies executed well shows your employees where the company is heading. It helps them analyze how the job will help them progress personally and builds trust between them and the company.

2. Improves Team’s Focus and Strategy

Short-sighted decisions are ultimately not always helpful. Encouraging long-term thinking in your team will make them zoom out and spot patterns that they would otherwise overlook.

3. Long-Term Approaches allow for Short-Term Milestones

Short-term goals are specific and measurable, and one can’t deny their importance. They help your team see results instantaneously and motivate them to keep going, which is why leveraging short-term milestones to achieve long-term success is imperative.

Breaking down long-term projects into smaller milestones makes it easier for the team to commit and work towards the goal.

4. Increases Focus on Innovation

Long term thinking forces you to think about where you see your project or business in the next five years, encouraging the team to brainstorm how the current plans can be innovated to provide better returns.

Companies that flourished because of long-term thinking

While it is nearly impossible for any business to be successful without long-term planning, one company that stands out to me is Amazon.

Amazon started out with a few people operating from a garage and has revolutionized so much that it is now a household name. In fact, it is now the world’s largest online retailer and accounts for 13.7% of worldwide e-commerce sales.

Source: Statista

Undoubtedly, Amazon owes this success to Jeff Bezos’ obsession with longevity. In 1997, when the company went public, Bezos wrote a letter to Amazon shareholders.

This letter is basically a manifesto of sorts that talks about the benefits and approaches to long term thinking.

Every subsequent year, Bezos has attached this original letter to that year’s shareholder’s letter as a reminder for thinking long term.

With this thinking process, he has designed the kind of life he wanted to lead alongside the values that were important to him, and he is now living his dream.

If long-term thinking could have such a huge impact on his life, all you are left to do is develop this thought process in you and your team and see how it impacts your life.

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