One of the hardest jobs of a leader is to make the long-term feel real. Most things that benefit the future require change and often sacrifice in the short-term, and, unless the leader can make her team really internalize the benefits, it’s a long slog of resistance.

How to convince someone that…

  • eating that cupcake today could cause diabetes.
  • the extra effort is worth it to open a new market even though today’s sales are fine.
  • wearing an uncomfortable mask could mitigate COVID spread in the community.
  • the new way of work will produce better outcomes in the future, even though it seems counter-intuitive now.
  • the excessive use of disposable plastics is related to climate change which is related to the wildfires in the West.
  • the pain of cost-cutting or retrenchment today will ultimately create a healthier organization.

Following a leader who has a realistic view of sacrifices is wiser than choosing someone who focuses on immediate gains without consideration of the implications. The shorter your time perspective – whether it be for your health, wealth or livelihood – the more negative impact your actions are likely to have on the long-term. Start by thinking about how you want it to be in the future and act accordingly today.

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