How Thinking Long Term Vs. Short Term Can Make a World of Difference

I just got back from working with a group on how to network to help them in their careers and an interesting idea came up.  I was talking about putting in the time to build relationships with the people you work with and the people that you want to work with.  After giving them tools to help them do this I asked, “What is the challenge in doing this?”  To which I got the reply, “You would get less work done.”

And that is very true.  If you are thinking in terms of today, many people could see you  having conversations with the people you work around, with and for and think that you are slacking off.  There is only so much time in the day, and if you are taking up large chunks of time having conversations with your coworkers, you are not using that time to get your work done.  So using short term thinking, almost everything that I work with people on (except maybe time management) will make people less productive in the short term.

I advocate taking time to build relationships, gain buy-in and develop leaders who can do more without having to constantly come back to you and ask why or how.  All of these things take time and effort that are not being placed on the job at hand.

Now let’s think about what that gets you long term.  I will stick with networking.  If you build a relationship with someone you want to work with, be they a customer or a potential boss,  what does that get you in the long run?  Trust, loyalty, respect and attention.  Let’s take away those first three and just look at attention for a moment.  With a customer, wouldn’t it be nice if more of your customers or potential customers gave you more of their attention?  They actually stop what they are doing because of the relationship that you have developed with them?  Or with a potential boss, how much of a difference would it make in getting that job if the person actually knows who you are and likes you?

The original objection, though, was that you get less work done.  Still looking at this long term, let’s say that you put in the time to build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect with all of your coworkers.  What does your day look like if everyone you work with trusts and respects you?  Take a moment and really get a picture of that in your mind.  You don’t have the whining, the push back, the complaining, the anger, the stress or the difficult conversations.  You work with people who trust you enough to come to you and have a real dialogue about what is going on and how to fix potential problems before they happen.

You end up having less fires to put out.  You end up having less late nights to fix the mistakes, the screw ups and the dropped work.  You can stop taking work home with you because you trust other people to help you get it done.

Now I ask you, is it worth it?

If you think it is, call me and we can work together to make it happen. Call me at 515.724.3163 or email me at Ryan dot Lynch at Dale Carnegie dot com.  I am here to help.

~Ryan Lynch