A leader always has this question to the board of directors and it varies with people, business and external environment.
Many decades back, the purpose of a business was to serve the people with a good product or service encompassing the highly valued ethical business practices and corporate governance. The vision or strategy was for a longer period of time that needed sustenance, resilience and concern for the consuming population and in general, the humanity and nature. Over the decades, as the innovations became rapid, new products and services got developed, consumption by population increased and economies grew larger, a long term strategy had to suffer in execution and sustainability of the business. Agility was the need of a business enterprise and that was slow on adoption due to slow technology adoption and execution methods.
Over the succeeding decades, a business strategy had undergone many changes and today we talk about meeting mostly the expectations of business analysts, investors and share holders. That means how to accelerate the growth of the business and maximise the profits. Obviously this has its own challenge as business leaders tend to achieve this singular objective with a strategy that is short sighted in vision and execution. There is nothing wrong in working towards maximising profits but there are methods and ways to realise it in a short term. In fact the emphasis today by many thought leaders is towards building a strategy for short term due to the demands of security, rising competitions, regulations, geo-politics and technology disruptions.
Business leaders, when adopting a short term strategy, must not look at maximising profits alone and rather focus their own energies and that of their boards towards handling the disruptive trends in macro and micro environments. They must ensure they keep the environment, sustainability of business and corporate governance ( ESG) always in sight respecting social and national and global mandates.
This short term strategy needs to be a transformational one to take on the new challenges and opportunities to drive the Next Generation and to offer immediate term benefits. It may be necessary to set a target date to achieve the objective and then work backwards to develop and execute actions in successive steps. These actions would need to be towards transforming the technologies that are in use in the business, understanding ESG mandates and creating capabilities to deliver these transformational changes. The time frame could be 6-8 years depending on the hierarchical nature and the size of the business that is being driven.
In conclusion, a business must now look at strategy in shorter intervals of time and create ( or seek) capability to execute all those actions that satisfy all the stake holders of business.