Seeing the Big Picture

Tell me if this situation sounds familiar: You’re going to a dinner party or the place you work is having food catered in. Of course you’re absolutely starving. After all, you’ve avoided eating snacks so you can have room to enjoy this feast that you’re about to partake in. Finally the moment arrives. “The food is here.” someone announces. You walk briskly towards the spread (you don’t want to rush and seem greedy after all). As your eyes survey the scene, horror sets in. Rows of assorted hummus plates look back at you. “Where is the meat?” “Who would do this?!” you angrily ask yourself. You are now a victim of someone’s lack of vision.

Everybody has had that moment. While not necessarily with food, you (or someone you know since you would never do that, of course) invariably has committed the crime of shortsightedness. It presents itself as ordering hummus plates for a big company lunch, or having a meat extravaganza dinner despite being in a family of vegetarians. If those examples are too absurd for you, in business situations a lack of vision presents itself as throwing the majority of your company’s resources at an opportunity because it will pay off immediately instead of considering the fact that in a few months, the opportunity will be forever dried up and a waste of company money and time.

A lack of vision and/or empathy can also hinder your management skills. If you’re leading someone or a group of people, a lack of vision will prevent you from getting the most out of your employee or your team. You have to have the empathy to understand the needs of everyone you work with. As a leader, this is often a hard balance since you’re also balancing people’s individual needs with the needs of a company. Otherwise, you’re burning both ends of the candle so to speak.

At the end of the day, this can all be boiled down to the fact that to be an effective business leader, you have to always work on seeing the big picture. You start with an overview of what your company or group’s goals are, both in the short run and the long run. Next you work down to the next level and figure out how those goals will be executed. After that, you have to see who or what can accomplish these goals, which typically involves leveraging the skills of others around you.

Finally, which is what many leaders forget, is that you have to look into the needs of those people whose skills you need. What are their ultimate goals? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What gets them motivated? If you’re able to achieve that perfect balance of seeing the vision, executing the vision, and growing people in the process, you have won; not just right then, but for years to come.

Disclaimer: I like hummus, but it’s not the best idea for a filling lunch.

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