Following post: “Why do you need long-term goals”.
“I have a problem with having too much emphasis on the long-term. When people concentrate on the general vision they tend to forget “small”, but important things like legal aspects, marketing, funding, etc. that can potentially prevent their “great vision” from coming into reality. How do you solve this contradiction?”
There is clearly a possible ambiguity here: “if you only look ahead, how can you successfully deal with what’s under your feet?” However, ambiguity doesn’t necessarily imply a contradiction.
It’s completely logical that current circumstances put constraints on our ability to embark on certain endeavors. Understanding how to deal with those constraints is part of our job as Managers. There are two basic strategies that Managers employ to deal with this specific problem.
One of the strategies (though not my favorite one, it still cannot be denied its rights of existence :-)) is to live and lead in REACTIVE mode, dealing with problems as they come your way. By dealing with multiple obstacles and overcoming one inch at the time we may well find ourselves at the doorstep of achievements, BUT there is a good chance that those would not be the ones we have dreamt of at the beginning.
A different approach, the one I was talking about in the post, relates to PROACTIVE strategy, i.e. always having a goal in your mind to serve as a lodestar in the forest of everyday’s challenges. And that is precisely where the art of management is coming into force and shines, providing you with what no other tool can give. Manager’s/ Project Manager’s sole prerogative is finding the ways of embodying the vision into reality, smoothly incorporating the aspects of fundraising, checking legal aspects or manufacturing into the Great Plan. Even when overloaded above and beyond a true manager always has the end goal on his peripheral vision, while ensuring that all required steps to get there are performed with utmost effectiveness.
I would say even more: achieving the goals that were initially indicated is the essence of effectiveness. It’s not that I’m saying that the goals are carved in stone; they might shift somewhat with extraordinary changes of environment such as new developments in technology, natural disasters, revolutions, wars, new competitors, etc., but your reaction to those shift doesn’t have to be arbitrary. It will happen according to our system of values, which is as a topic that probably deserves a separate post of its own.
While answering your question, I also understood that it’s time to talk more about the strategic, tactic and operational layers of planning and functioning and how they relate to the world of management, so I’ll definitely write about it and it looks like it will happen sooner than later 🙂
I’d like to add something to the conversation, but I just agree with you.
🙂 I’m always glad to hear from you!
Nice article. I like the way you framed a project manager as someone tasked with embodying a vision. I think in terms of strategy vs. tactics, but it’s the concept that is important.
Thank you for the comment Pat, I’m glad the message resonated with you.