Big picture thinking

It seems everyone is working so hard on their particular area they don’t have the luxury of time to pull their heads up from their desks and get a broader view of the business.  To them, being strategic feels like one more thing to do.

I think people naturally want to think “big picture.” We do it naturally while walking on the beach or lingering over dinner with good friends.   This kind of relaxed thinking create ideas that move people and businesses forward.  Big picture thinking shows how all the pieces come together, what’s ahead, and what’s possible.

These different levels of perspectives are similar to what we see on the ground while boarding a plane versus from our window at 30,000 feet.

The urgent crowds out the important; day-to-day demands make it difficult to step away and think big picture.

This is why I ask my clients to schedule big picture meetings with themselves.  The requirement for these meetings:

  • they must treat this with the same importance as any other meeting
  • be off-site, away from the distraction of urgent tasks
  • keep a record of the ideas generated

These are meetings when leaders can think about:

  • their own career development
  • how to develop their people
  • what challenges are coming up for the business
  • how the business should capitalize on new markets or opportunities.

The point here is to stay big picture and to avoid the temptation of getting sucked down into the pit of urgent tasks.


Leaders want to think big picture; and when they do, they come up with great ideas and perspectives.  It just takes scheduling, persistence, and understanding that the long term benefits of big picture thinking outweigh the short term struggle to break away from urgent tasks.