More clear thinking from Seth Godin:
Do you have a plan?
A long or medium term plan for your brand or your blog or your career or your project?
You can have grand visions for remodeling your house or getting in shape, but if there’s a fire in the kitchen, you drop everything and put it out. What choice do you have? The problem, of course, is that most organizations are on fire, most of the time.
I gave a talk the other day, all about the unstoppable slow decline of interruption (traditional) media and the opportunities for rethinking how we communicate with people. At the end of the talk, someone came up and had very nice things to say about what he’d learned. The he leaned over and asked me to help him brainstorm about his brand’s upcoming ad campaign, because it was due to his boss on Friday.
Add up enough urgencies and you don’t get a fire, you get a career. A career putting out fires never leads to the goal you had in mind all along.
I guess the trick is to make the long term items even more urgent than today’s emergencies. Break them into steps and give them deadlines. Measure your people on what they did today in support of where you need to be next month.
If you work in an urgent-only culture, the only solution is to make the right things urgent.
I’m thinking about how we are approaching our moving houses and putting things away. Urgent things, one box at a time. I think it’s working well. That’s a medium-length goal of a few weeks though.
What I really want to figure out is how to apply this to taking my wife on a real honeymoon to Ireland someday, actually learning the music I really want to play on guitar, to teaching my kids how to read and play violin, to paying for their schooling, to saving up for stuff down the road. I have these long-term goals, but somehow I must convert them into a little something to do NOW to pull them off. Saving money toward something is one of the hardest to actually do, but at least it’s straight-forward. As for the other things, they needs some thought. And more immediate will.