Big picture thinking is a serious core leadership competency. Unfortunately, and again, many businesses today suffer from a serious drought of creative, risk-taking leaders. Creative thinkers develop highly meaningful relationships, analyze complex data, and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.
Reduce labor intensity without getting injured. Create new processes and metrics to improve customer service, products, or services. Make sense of critical information. Stay ahead of the competition. This is what successful managers do, and that’s what the “big picture” guys need to be able to do also if they want to get big picture thinking about working for them.
A “micro-niche” strategy helps you focus on the details. There are different kinds of visions or micro-niches associated with vision planning. Visioning for a large corporation, or a small group, might involve some overlap with the broad perspective. However, for a micro-niche of five individuals or a smaller team it might be a more appropriate way to think about how to get big picture thinking about working for them.
Sometimes there are better ways to get a bigger picture across rather than talking about it as though it is only one option among many. When it comes to innovation, often the smaller, micro-niche strategic thinkers have an easier time of expressing their ideas in a way that makes them resonate with larger audiences and create new market share. The people doing the talking need to be more comprehensive and more thoughtful than the broad strategic thinkers who are often more limited in their thinking.
When you think big, you tend to sound like an authority, and your ideas will be more easily adopted and become more widely accepted and acted upon if you do so as a leader. That does not mean you should not be broad in your communications. In fact, when you think big, you should talk to a broad audience, but you also need to be careful that you don’t talk down to those audiences. You don’t want to seem overly arrogant, but you do need to be broad and express your ideas clearly without seeming to be all knowing in advance or being condescending.
At times you can get big picture thinking by starting out with what you want to accomplish as a company or as an individual. That kind of broad direction puts you in a much better position to discuss your options and to outline how things can go. It also puts you in a much better position to describe what you might hope to get from your options and your decision making process. In that way you are much more likely to get big picture thinking in action, since you are less limited by your current frame of reference. You can look at your situation and see where you can benefit most from trying one alternative option over another.
Another useful exercise for getting into big picture thinking is to step back for a moment and imagine how it might feel if you changed something about yourself. For instance, have you ever felt like you needed to change something in order to make the situation that you are in work more tolerable? How would you feel if you suddenly had a different perspective on what you were doing and what was going on? This same perspective could help you re-frame your thoughts so that you begin to think big. When you start to think big, it often becomes easier to find solutions to problems.
If you want to use this thinking process to solve problems, you need to keep these three stonecutters in mind: First, others can see right through you, so first make sure that you project yourself in a positive light. Second, if you are projecting yourself in a positive light, make sure you do not say anything critical about others in your life. Third, if you are critiquing others or yourself, be sure that you do not allow any negative feelings or emotions to develop. When you use these three stonecutters, you will find that your problems become more focused and that you are more able to find solutions for your problems. In addition, as you implement these three simple techniques every day, you will find that your thinking becomes increasingly powerful and that your future is brighter than ever.