Which lever are you going to pull today?

In every part of your life, you get to pull two levers today.

  • In your business, you can choose to juice up revenue or take a hit to improve customer value.
  • At work, you can choose to put in extra effort that’ll help your next promotion or raise or invest time into learning a skill that matters.
  • At home, you can choose to spend more time answering email to fight the fire of the day or engage with your family.
  • On the dinner table, you’ll can choose to eat that pastry or get an extra serving of broccoli.
  • On the exercise mat… well, you’ll first need to choose to go to the gym or to open the exercise mat over everything that’ll help in the short term.

The answer is not to ignore the short term. We need all that stuff – revenues, promotions, raises, fire fighting, etc. But, to what end?

Nearly every indicator and incentive we see is short term focused because the short term is easy to measure. Those levers are the brightly colored ones in front of us.

The best way to fight this is to unabashedly optimize for the long term. When in doubt, pick customer value, long term learning, engagement with the people that matter and more time on the exercise mat. And, oh, you won’t go wrong with picking the broccoli more often than not.

Err on optimizing for the long run. The short run becomes the long run before you know it.