MPW Insiders is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How important is it to know where you want to be in five years? is written by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.
Any good leader knows that it is critical to have a vision and aspirations for not only your personal career, but for your company. The only sure way to never reach your destination or goal is by not having one. There is great value in dreaming big, mapping out your goals, and planning how you'll get there. It takes focus and determination, but I truly believe that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it. Here are the top three things to keep in mind when determining where you want to go and why:
Have a vision
In today’s hyper-competitive and fast-moving business environment, only the companies that have a strong vision for the future and roadmap on how to get there will survive. It can be detrimental to constantly focus on where we are, as we’ll never see the potential curves in the market that will require us to shift and pivot our path as we execute on our strategy.
Develop a strategy
It is normal to be reactive in fixing problems. Loss of talent, products that plummet, innovation that fails at the last moment—all require quick actions to address them. But you shouldn’t always only focus on what’s right in front of you and tackle challenges in an isolated manner. On the other hand, you can’t dream too much or you risk losing sight of reality and where you are in the moment. The best approach is to complement vision with a clear strategy. Stick to the strategy, then act in the moment to master problems so they don’t get in the way of your achieving what you’ve set out to do. You need to be executing in the present and have a vision for where you're headed.
Innovation is crucial to success, and it’s nearly impossible to innovate if you can’t anticipate market shifts or how the needs of customers and clients will change. According to PwC, almost 80% of the world’s most innovative companies have a well-defined and thought-through innovation strategy. Keeping an eye five years out will help your business stay focused on innovation and future growth.