How to move a group from short term focus to long term planning

By Steve Zuieback · Posted Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to balance short-term needs with long-term planning?

I frequently get asked the question, “How can you create an organizational culture that values process when they only have time to address short-term needs or urgencies”?

2-Big Tips

Get Results First!

The first tip seems like a paradox. That is, you need to assist your team in getting some quick results or “runs on the board”.  This accomplishes a couple of essential things. First, it builds some of the team “infrastructure”  that moves a group into becoming a high functioning team. It is critical, however, that the leader or facilitator also makes sure that the short term results are connected to the longer-term outcomes and principles that the team is moving toward. Secondly, getting short-term results allows groups to experience success and become more patient with the more process-oriented longer-term planning.

Work on theShort-Term needs and Long-Term Outcomes Simultaneously

This is relatively simple. It involves spending a little extra time with the team after the shorter-term work is completed. That time is used to address the question,  “When we step back from this short term plan, what are we learning about our longer-term outcomes and design principles?”

These lessons or insights are captured on a separate flipchart document. This document is continually posted when this team works on its short-term work. Eventually a longer-term plan begins to emerge. Even though it seems backwards, it is a way to address this overall dilemma and moves a group to be working on the longer term planning frame.

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