Short Term Wins or Long Term Legacy. What is Your Strategic Leadership Horizon?
Yesterday, I had the great joy of spending some time with the senior leadership team at Husqvarna Group Australia. This team took time out from their significant roles to focus on their own leadership development. We covered a range of areas including understanding more about self, the importance of self-leadership and continuous evolution, and the team getting to know each other better so they can operate at an even higher level.
During the day the team identified opportunities for elevated communication, both within the team and also with the broader community of their organisation. I introduced some great ways of sharing observations and feedback with each other and their team members, that create real opportunity for progress. This team have big plans, and I know they are going to make terrific progress over the coming months and years.
During one of the session breaks, one of the newer members of the team asked me if I knew much about the history of Husqvarna. I knew it was a Swedish company and had been around for a while. I remember vividly, when I was a child, my mum’s great joy when she bought herself a new Husqvarna sewing machine. But what I did not know, that Trent shared with me, was that Husqvarna was founded in 1689, meaning that this organisation has operated continuously for 334 years.
This is the first time I have worked with an organisation that has existed for more than 300 years. What a privilege and honour.
Of course, during their history Husqvarna has changed. It has evolved. It is an organisation that has adapted to the times. The initial Husqvarna plant was a rifle factory. Since then, they have changed their product lines and the customers they serve. Today, the range includes robotic lawnmowers, chainsaws, trimmers, riding lawnmowers and garden irrigation. Husqvarna Group is also a leader in equipment and diamond tools for the construction and stone industries.
In order to survive, they have responded to the demands of their marketplace. They have responded to the way the world has changed. Today, the Group has approximately 14,400 employees in 40 countries, and they are a thriving business.
This had me thinking overnight about what it takes to create this kind of longevity. The kind of vision and strategic positioning that would serve us all well.
What I notice today is that so many leaders are operating with short-term focus and positioning. What do we need to do today and tomorrow, rather than what will serve us in the long-term? Their focus is short-term gain or addressing the short-term pain.
Often, there is little to no focus on a longer term horizon, a bigger view of the future, and a longer time horizon.
I believe if we want to do something really special, if we want to create a long-term, sustainable, relevant organisation, then we cannot only be focused on the short-term. We need to invest in the development of long-term opportunity and the capability to bring it to fruition. I am not sure there are too many leaders and organisations that do this well. I look around the world, there are plenty of examples of short-term thinking rather than long-term vision.
I wanted to put the question to you, where is your focus?
What is important to you, to your team, to your organisation? Is it the short-term gain? Is it the alleviation of short-term pain? Or is this actively balanced with a long-term perspective, a long range perspective and vision?
What do you think of the idea that perhaps your organisation too could exist, could develop, could evolve, and continue to serve for more than 300 years? What a legacy.
I’d love to know your thoughts.