Plan Like You're Going To Live Forever

Next time you're planning something, think like an immortal. (Excerpt from Unite The Tribes: Leadership Skills for Technology Managers)

A common practice in the business world is the tendency to make plans that look good for a finite period of time but have known difficulties that will arise after that. You'd think people would realize how dumb this is but in the frantic, get it done atmosphere of most companies, the trouble of the moment is usually all they think about.

Today we do something stupid but immediate to solve a problem. Months later, we're accosted by an issue that was a known consequence of the hack we did in the past. However, the future has suddenly become the present. Simple math points out that we didn't eliminate our difficulty. We merely moved it to a new time slot.

All of this would be much easier to grasp if we just had a time machine. If you know a place that offers good deals on used DeLoreans, or perhaps a low mileage Tardis, it's definitely a purchase worth making. Imagine if you could travel into the future. Better still, let's defy a few more laws of time, space and corporate governance and allow you to watch yourself in this future scenario. There you are, dealing with the problem that you knew would arise when you did the short term fix in the first place. See how silly you look explaining to people why you're wasting more time and money on an issue that you actually created yourself? If only you could go back in time and make a better decision.

Whether you're dreaming of a brave new world or you're just trying to get the job done and build a better career for yourself, think about the grand total of your efforts, not the five minutes you're saving at the moment. Given that we don't yet have flying cars, let alone those capable of time travel, your greatest ally in the quest for long term profitability is your own imagination. Pretend that you're immortal and live in such a way that you don't continually create problems for yourself down the line. In doing so, you'll find that it's a much better ride overall.

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