“Look at the big picture!”
We hear that all the time. Depending where you are and what you’re doing, this can mean anything from “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” to “I just want a high-level report,” to “You have to expand your scope.”
Think…wait a minute. If everyone’s so busy thinking big, who’s doing the stuff that will drive this “big” to its success?
I was reading this post over at AskaManager.org, which included a comment from Alison herself that seemed all too familiar.
An employee came to her and asked if the office would pay for birthday cards that she herself would be in charge of circulating.
When Alison mentioned that this employee would also need to make sure she had a good system in place first to make sure no one is left out and all new employees were added in, an interesting thing happened (bolding is mine):
“She looked really annoyed, like I had just ruined her fun plans that really didn’t need this kind of accountability attached, but I knew that yes it does because otherwise we’re going to end up alienating someone who doesn’t get added, and then she never followed up on it again because Fun Ruined.”
In other words, Big Picture: Squashed.
Yet it didn’t have to be.
I’ve talked about accountability before, and why it doesn’t seem to be a trending trait employers hire for, if you believe all those infographics.
But isn’t that what so much of this comes down to?
Be a Big Picture person. That’s fine! Visions get people moving and changes churning. We need that to counteract all of the dismal “things will never change” inward-looking folks.
This isn’t about not thinking big.
It’s about also thinking small.
If you can be a Small Picture person too, it’s there that I think you’ll find more success in the end.
More people who’ll think you’re someone to depend on.
More people willing to listen to your ideas because they know there’ll be follow-through, not just another scrap of paper buried on your desk, or a rush to be on to the next exciting thing.
More people who want you on their team.
And fortunately, there’s no law that says Big and Small Picture people can’t get along.
That’s my theory, anyway. Now I’m going to take my own advice and make sure I’m not just Big Picturing today!