In life and in work there are those who play the long game and those who play the short game. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, you may want to think about golf.
In golf, the long game is the drive from the tee. More distance is what you want. Distance with trajectory—hit the ball long and straight (or with purposeful hooks and slices). The next shot may be from the fairway and you still need distance, but want to avoid obstacles, such as water and sand, which might cause problems. With these kinds of shots, you look at how you might set yourself up for success and make the short game work.
The short game is near the green, where chipping, pitching, and putting take over. Finesse and accuracy are crucial in these efforts. Reading the undulations of the green and having just enough stroke to get to the hole, but not far beyond. With these strokes, you look at being effective within several yards or feet of the pin.
You have to be proficient at both of these approaches to get better at golf. Being good at only one will not advance your prowess on the links. Take too many shots to get to the green and no matter how good you are with a putter, the strokes add up. Get to the green quickly and then blow the shorter shots and the game goes out the window. Golf is not an easy game to master. And lest you think I am good at it, I must confess that I have played only once in the last 20 years.
I am not a golfer, but I am a manager. The two may have more in common than you think. Let’s move to the work world and see how this applies to technology management. You need to know when to play the long game and when to play the short game with technology so that you are maximizing your effectiveness.
Playing the long game with CAD Management can be equated to other slogans that might help with understanding. Slow and steady wins the race. Inch by inch, everything’s a cinch. Lose the battle, but win the war. All of these reflect taking a longer view at the overall goal and moving forward in measured steps.
Those who play the long game take a much longer look at everything that they attempt to do. They are looking farther down the line than others. They are planning for the long haul. When they start a planning process they look beyond the initial rollout to the problems that may be encountered further on. They think of deployment, management, and maintenance. They know that today’s efficiency upgrades might be lost as the software stretches into the future.
When working with people comes into play, they look toward the end of the effort even from the beginning. They are making progress even when it looks like they are stalled or moving backwards. In meetings and discussions, they seek to move the effort forward even against resistance. They see that even a small stride forward, a small compromise by others, is still progress.
Playing a short game has its slogans, also. Strike while the iron is hot. When opportunities knocks, open the door. There is no time like the present. All of these emphasize the need to move forward quickly to capitalize on a good thing.
Short game players want to get moving quickly and seek early wins so that others can see progress. They start moving and adjust as they go. They know that taking too long to define the next move may cripple their efforts. They make course corrections on the fly.
In a nutshell, you need to plan for the long game and execute for the short game.
Make your plans taking everything into account and stretch your thinking out as far as you can. Think about Plan B before you start executing Plan A. Get as much input as you can and ponder your options. Think long and hard, and then think again. Get it all on paper and have others review it.
Then execute for the short game. Move as quickly as possible. Before others take away the opportunities, maximize them. Move past the planning and into the execution phase as soon as you can. Stop talking and start doing. If you are going to fail, fail fast, and recover faster. Generate energy and keep the energy high. Create a sense of urgency so that others catch the feeling and start moving faster.
When working with others you may need to balance their efforts by working the other side. If they appear to be working the long game, then you may need to employ short game tactics. If they are moving with short game speed, you may need to slow things down a little with some long game thinking. Be nimble and adjust as you see others working without balance.
Don’t get caught in one rut or the other. If you are a short game player then force yourself to plan more. If you tend toward extended planning periods, then start your actions and tasks a little sooner, prior to completing the planning phases.
By employing the long and short game methods you can master the CAD Management arena by planning well and executing with excellence.