Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Law of Expanding Immediacy

"The law of expanding immediacy underlines a great truth of modern business life: Everybody is in the same situation, facing the same kinds of pressures for immediate action, demonstrable short-term results and more work to do than can be done. The more successful businesses and individuals are at managing in shorter-term increments, the more they reinforce and expand the need for it everywhere else.

It also means that the situation is unlikely to change. Just as the networking of everything and everyone has become part of the fabric of business, so too will its effects. And one of those is the need to manage for shorter timeframes. This is neither good nor bad. It just is. And it means that like it or not, everyone is going to need to find new ways not just to get through the long days but also to feel better about how they spend that time. "

(Chuck Martin is syndicated columnist as well as chairman and CEO of NFI Research, a global research firm based in New Hampshire. He lectures around the world, and is a best-selling author of several business books, including his latest Managing for the Short Term )

Does managing for shorter timeframes mean forgetting the long view? Or does it simply mean that we need to pay attention to better execution and act on the big tasks in shorter, doable pieces with the long term goal in mind? Rather than an extensive, fixed long range plan, smart managers clearly define the desired outcome and keep the detail to the short term.

Taking some steps, checking the results, adjusting the course towards the target - hey, what a concept. And at the end of the day, we "get through the long days" (depressing phrase) with energy when we see accomplishments and progress towards the larger goal.

Good project management practices and exemplary communication - coach, watch and make room for people to be successful. And short term tasks are a great way to make sure that everyone knows whats going on.


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