It’s interesting how quickly people can forget the big picture – providing they haven’t missed it altogether!
In business and projects, if you are one of those who happen to be able to see the big picture, don’t hide it – you might be the only one who sees it!
Here’s the thing: a good portion of individuals’ work is in the details (or – if you must have one of your corporate buzzwords – “in the weeds”). That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with people working in the details. For sure they must. As a matter of fact, they are absolutely critical, otherwise nothing would ever get done with any semblance of quality.
However, if you can see the big picture, you are needed most of all. When dealing with business activities, project parts, work tasks, and so forth, it’s easy to stay embedded in the details. In every situation where there is wheel-spinning involved, there is an opportunity to not only be the grounding for traction, but the impetus for forward motion and even the catalyst for acceleration.
The big picture must be kept in front and if you just so happen to be the seer and keeper of that big picture, you mustn’t stay quiet. Moreover, you can’t be afraid to be wrong. If you even think you understand the big picture, you need to step forward and connect the dots and state it firmly!
Remember old TVs? If you sat close enough, you could see the dots! (I remember the distinct moment I knew I needed glasses at age 9. Thanks Nintendo’s Tetris and Dr. Mario…“Mom, I can’t see the blocks or pills very clear anymore!”).
Recall the classical art style of Impressionism. Annoying, wasn’t it – to have to step back in order to see the lady holding the umbrella and the people in the park?
Another example is in martial arts. Remember the scene where Mr. Miagi insists that Daniel-san washes Mr. Miagi’s cars, sand the deck, and paint the fences? The immediate application wasn’t so easily seen, but Mr. Miagi held the big picture.
Ok, so that last example is a bit ’80s-martial-arts-movie hokey, but in real martial arts it’s still as true. When learning forms (hyung), it’s best to teach or learn in pieces. A block here, a kick there or a turn or two appear as nothing but hard movement. However, the moment it all comes together – where the pieces are lost in the whole – is when the sheer beauty of a form shines.
How can you always check to make sure you see the big picture?
Performing in the details of the big picture is equity.
Perceiving the big picture is vision.
Owning the big picture is leadership.
Creating, sharing and helping others to understand the big picture is art.