Are You Playing the Short Game or the Long Game?

Kristin Luck

Are You Playing the Short Game or the Long Game?

In this week’s edition of the business landscape rollercoaster, I present you with the paradox of adopting short term strategies that can actually derail long term growth. In a recent post, Simon Sinek said “Too many of us confuse that the short-term impacts that we’re having are producing long term value. Or, conversely, having no short-term impact means we’re having no value. So for example, you can’t go to the gym for nine hours and get into shape. It literally doesn’t work, no matter how much effort you put in. But if you work out every day for 20 minutes, guaranteed 100% you’ll get into shape.”


Long-term thinking enables businesses to build sustainable competitive advantages, adapt to market fluctuations, and foster enduring relationships with customers


It's no different in business. It can be tempting for companies to adopt short-term strategies in an effort to achieve immediate gains. However, the importance of sticking to long game strategies cannot be overstated. Long-term thinking enables businesses to build sustainable competitive advantages, adapt to market fluctuations, and foster enduring relationships with customers.


The Pitfalls of Short Game Strategies

Short game strategies prioritize quick wins and instant gratification. While they may yield immediate results, they often fail to address the long-term health and sustainability of a business. Here are a few reasons why businesses should resist the urge to adopt short-term thinking:

Lack of Strategic Direction

Short game strategies often lack a clear vision and purpose, leading to reactive decision-making rather than proactive planning. This hinders a company’s ability to align actions with long-term objectives and may result in missed opportunities.

Erosion of Trust

Frequent changes in direction or sudden shifts in focus can erode trust among customers, employees, and partners. Building strong relationships requires consistency, reliability, and a commitment to delivering value over time.

Missed Innovation Opportunities

Developing innovative solutions and staying ahead of the competition often requires long-term investment in research and development. Short game strategies tend to prioritize immediate gains over innovation, stifling a company's ability to adapt and evolve- key to long term growth.


The Benefits of Long Game Strategies

Adopting a long game mentality, on the other hand, offers numerous advantages that can truly differentiate a business from its competition:

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Long-term strategies help businesses build durable competitive advantages that are not easily replicable. By investing in areas such as marketing, customer engagement, employee development, and R&D, companies can establish strong barriers to entry for competitors.

Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction

Consistency and reliability are key factors in nurturing customer loyalty. Long game strategies focus on understanding customer needs, providing exceptional service, and building lasting relationships. This creates customer loyalty that can withstand short-term disruptions and economic fluctuations.

Adaptability and Resilience

Markets are dynamic and subject to unpredictable shifts. By adopting a long-term mindset, businesses are better equipped to weather economic downturns and industry disruptions. This adaptability allows companies to pivot and explore new opportunities without compromising their core values and objectives.

Looking for real world examples? Read on for a few familiar B2B firms that have excelled by embracing the long game.


Salesforce has consistently demonstrated a long game mentality. By prioritizing customer success, investing in innovation, and continuously enhancing their platform, Salesforce has established itself as a trusted partner for businesses worldwide. Their commitment to providing long-term value has resulted in a loyal customer base and steady growth, even in the face of short-term market fluctuations.


IBM, a technology and consulting company that is a leader in the data, insights and analytics sector, has been an exemplar of long game thinking for decades. Instead of chasing immediate market trends, IBM has consistently invested in research and development, focusing on emerging technologies and data driven solutions that address long-term business challenges. This approach has allowed IBM to adapt to changing market dynamics and maintain its position as a trusted industry leader.

In a world filled with short-term pressures and tempting quick wins, businesses that prioritize long game strategies position themselves for sustainable success. By focusing on building strong relationships, fostering innovation, and staying committed to their long-term vision, companies can create lasting competitive advantages and navigate through uncertain times with resilience. The success stories of B2B companies like Salesforce and IBM serve as inspiring examples of the rewards of those who embrace the long game. In the “marathon” of business, playing the long game is often the key to winning the race.

Every single successful business starts with a single reader, listener, subscriber or customer. Stop expecting it all right away. Relax into the process.

Looking to change your short-term approach and adopt long game strategies? Reach out to us!