We all know someone like it. They seem to only focus on the immediate future and have issues thinking further down the road. Your boss might say things like, “I can’t focus on that right now” or “That is not a priority.”
You might think of your boss as short-sighted, but actually, she may have what we call an Immediate Time Frame Orientation. It’s not a bad thing, as long as you understand what it means and how to deal with it.
Understanding Immediate Time Frame Orientation
Someone with Immediate or Short Time Frame Orientation most naturally plans and works on projects that can be completed within a year or less. They naturally prefer immediate results, immediate rewards, and to be in the middle of a project rather than talk about plans for the future. For example, your boss might be in charge of creating a new line of business for a particular market. It’s possible that she will over emphasize the value of a few small wins and under emphasize the value of thorough research.
Leaders with an Immediate Time Frame Orientation excel in putting out fires, responding to emergencies, and removing immediate obstacles. They naturally keep the here-and-now in the forefront of their minds at all times and must make a conscious effort to think beyond a date 6-12 months away. They must intentionally make the time to think through longer-term plans or repercussions of the actions they want to take now.
Working With a Boss Who Has Immediate Time Frame
Now that you know how your boss thinks, here are a few key ways to work with her while keeping your sanity.
Help set mid-to-long range goals and then break them down into smaller, more immediate targets, each of which can lead to a finished result.
- Let her know she can seek and get input from you as well as others before acting.
- Use external aids (including other people) to design and structure long-term strategies.
- Ask her to delegate the management of long-term projects to you while letting her know you will consult her all throughout the process.
All of us are predisposed to think about things in the Immediate, Intermediate, or Long Term. Like we said, none are bad, but it’s important to understand your tendencies and account for them. Clarity around what natural abilities look like can open doors for better communication and happiness for the whole team!