I woke up this morning, and this word just came straight to my heart “short-sightedness”. I was amazed and just laughed. As someone who loves to share everyday experiences through writing, I really have to make sure I am always alert to appreciate the wisdom that is always right before me and around me. I starting thinking about this word and two classic examples came into my mind.

I recall a conversation I had with a business executive at work. I was actually giving him feedback about what people had said in the workshops we had run. A lot of people were complaining about a strategic project that the business had introduced. They just didn’t understand the logic behind it and felt that things should have been kept the same. They will say things like “why are we changing so many things, let’s leave things the way they are”. So I was sharing this feedback and I must admit after receiving the feedback myself I really felt concerned about what people were saying and also began to have some doubts about the project, Until…

Well it’s true when the proverb says “The first to speak in court sounds right until the cross-examination begins” Until the executive began to open my mind about why the business had embarked on this strategic project, I realised that there were two sides to this story. It’s true that there were teething issues, like any major change but the overall crux of the matter was that the leaders who had signed off on this were not being short-sighted. He began to unpack to me how our competitors were gaining momentum and if we don’t strategically position ourselves for the future, we run the risk of closing shop like so many great corporate giants.

But this particular project was going to be our “competitive” jackpot. Not even one of our competitors had caught onto this, and we were ahead of the game. He made me realise that leadership is a shrewd occupation because you see things other people don’t see. Yes your decisions will be challenged, sometimes in the face of difficulty, you can also question your own decisions, but one thing is sure…You simply cannot afford to be short-sighted. You have to receive the right sight…you need foresight.

In a recent example, I was watching the 10 year awards celebration of our Premier Soccer League (PSL) and Super Sport partnership. They began to “throwback” to the time when this whole partnership was established. They shared how in the inception, the government and mass media at large challenged this. Their biggest concern was that soccer is South Africa’s most loved sport and that moving the game screenings to a paid channel would mean that millions of South Africans would not be able to enjoy the beautiful game and this would cause an upheaval in the land. But, they were wrong…the 10 year celebration was an outcome of the success of this partnership. Imagine if the PSL and SuperSport leaders had succumbed to the naysayers but they didn’t because they were not short-sighted and the benefits have been great.

In whatever field you in and whatever your position is, if you want lasting and sustainable change you cannot afford to be short-sighted. Changes and decisions that will outlast and outlive you need to be approached with the greatest of foresight…

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