Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to the “How I Built It” Podcast with Guy Raz. From listening to the founders of Southwest Airlines and Famous Dave’s to the CEO of Kodiak Cakes and Inventor of Dippin’ Dots, there’s so much power in learning from the highs, lows, and twists and turns of a company’s history.

Hearing these stories and countless others, the first of three common business mistakes is the indelible focus on short term performance.

Here are some of the risks and challenges that come with a short term mindset:

1. An Underdeveloped Infrastructure

Talent and transactions over time are essential in creating the systems, processes, products, relationships, and culture that are necessary to grow over the long haul. When we’re focused on the next quarter or two, it’s incredibly difficult to find time to tackle the priorities that will impact the organization in the coming years or decades.

2. Inflated Performance Tracking

One common issue found in companies focused on short-run growth is overly aggressive accounting methodology. From depreciation schedules to inventory management booking, there’s much turmoil found in celebrating near term profit and lamenting languishing performance. With unending challenges that will come over time, managing financials in a conservative fashion is powerful in establishing sustaining growth.

3. Second Rate Deals and Low Caliber Customers

Starving salespeople, teams, and companies have an ever decreasing standard on the projects they’ll take on and the customers they’ll support. When our teams focus on the short run, we end up spending time on projects and customers that won’t be beneficial in creating a strong business foundation. We are more likely to work with people who don’t have a shared vision or values in the business space.

4. Failure to Invest in People

Carrying a short lens tends to lead to a “fixed” mindset. The focus naturally becomes WHO can do WHAT right NOW versus building into people who can practice now and will grow into the people needed to build the organization in the years to come.

As Simon Sinek shares in the Infinite Game, there’s something entirely different available to companies living beyond the quarter. The vision and lens impact the strategy and the strategy impacts the culture and the way our teams execute.

Each of us as leaders needs to ask “what do we want to accomplish in 2 or 4 or 10 or 30 years?” When we step out of the day-to-day, we open our minds to fresh ideas that are critical in stirring our teams toward the future.

Cheers to moving teams forward today while shaping tomorrow!

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