Whether in our personal or professional lives – or both – most of us struggle with finding a balance between instant and delayed gratification. As consumers, we’re willing to pay a premium for faster download speeds, quicker package delivery, and location-based convenience. None of these things are inherently wrong, but some would say patience is an ever-fading virtue.
For businesses, however, the need for instant gratification can lead to misguided conclusions, rushed decisions, and wasted resources. So, as professionals, the balance between instant and delayed gratification can be the difference between disappointment and long-term success.
The key is identifying where and how to focus your efforts with long-term success in mind. We often see businesses hyper-focus on a single outcome with performance metrics attached to immediate impact. If the desired outcome is not realized in the short-term, then the efforts were unsuccessful. Of course, the hyper-competitive marketplace requires agility and quick results, but there also needs to be a big-picture perspective that considers how multiple quick-results projects will fit together. Otherwise, there could be disruptive overlap or premature strategy shifts.
For example, consider a brand whose current objective is improving customer satisfaction. The obvious first step is a customer satisfaction survey, right? Maybe. If the goal is improving customer satisfaction, then starting with customer journey mapping could be a more effective use of resources. Customer satisfaction is based on a series of micro-moments, so a clear understanding of all experiential attributes is an important factor when seeking to improve satisfaction scores.
Furthermore, there might already be customer satisfaction scores from a recent survey that could be used as benchmarks and help identify experiential attributes in need of attention. Rather than starting with a customer satisfaction survey, it could make more sense for that to be the last step. But if the business is seeking instant gratification and is hyper-focused on improved satisfaction scores from an immediate perspective, there could be missed opportunities to establish a foundation for long-term results.
So, how are these points applicable today? Keep your short-term goals because they are part of staying competitive and relevant. Continue tracking metrics on a regular basis because those are how informed, agile decisions are made. But frame all those efforts within big-picture, long-term context.
Before launching into a project expecting immediate results, we encourage our clients to shift their time horizon to consider how that project will add value down the road. We examine all the pieces surrounding their primary objective to ensure they have everything needed to be successful. We create a holistic plan that will yield those sought-after short-term results while at the same time laying a foundation to build upon moving forward.
When goals and objectives are clearly defined, then achieving those goals is about being efficient with resources and maximizing the impact of ensuing efforts. If you’re unsure of the best next step for your project, we’re here to help you develop a holistic plan of action.