Module 43 - 'Big Picture' Thinking and Leading - Pro-Active Approach to Problem Uncovering and Solving
Leadership & Personal Development Blog Series
What is ‘big picture’ thinking and how it applies to leadership?
Is there a difference in how we approach various situations and problems that we face? Absolutely. There’s a big difference between standard way of thinking and ‘big picture’ ways of thinking. Standard thinking approach is focused on seeing everything from its immediate and current state without considering any additional factors or possibilities. For example, let’s take written communication. With standard approach or way of thinking, communication is drafted to address immediate concern without considering how style of communication can impact everyone involved, as long as the main point or concern comes across clearly and directly. This type of communication could have many negative consequences to group or all individuals involved, which in turn will cause undesirable negative effects on relationships among individuals and possibly the business. As we had discussed in one of the previous podcasts, perception that you are giving out to others should be carefully managed and understood, to ensure the perception you are giving out is the one that you intend to give out. That is why you should always approach every situation or problem from the ‘big picture’ perspective. So, what does that mean?
‘Big picture’ way of thinking and leading is looking at everything you do at work, business, or at home from big picture while considering all possible consequences of your actions several steps ahead versus immediate result. Big picture analysis requires you to consider all positive as well as all negative results of each action you take, whether it’s written, verbal, or any other type of interaction. Let’s look at the same example as before. You have a problem or situation that you need to address via written communication route addressed to a large group of individuals. Utilizing ‘big picture’ approach in drafting your communication, you need to consider your tone, to ensure that it is appropriate for an audience in question. Your style of communication needs to match the style and preference of how information is expected to be received by your audience. If your communication style does not align to the style of your audience, it will likely be rejected or taken negatively.
Another important part of ‘big picture’ way of thinking and communication is considering and explaining how your actions or suggestion will not only address the immediate concern, but also how this type of situation could be avoided in the future.
‘Big picture’ approach requires one to take couple of steps back and analyze current situation from all angles. Just like a game of chess requires to think several moves ahead and how each move could impact the future of the game. Exactly the same approach should be used in ‘big picture’ thinking and leading.
You may have a big and important project or proposal in front of you, so before acting, utilizing chess analogy, think through all possible outcomes if you do x, y, or z. After considering all positive and negative outcomes of your decisions and actions, you should have much better understanding of what’s ahead and be able to make an educated decision to proceed or not.
This approach is applicable to all styles of communication and decision making. Before sharing your thoughts and opinions with others, think through how your words can impact them and their perception of you. If your comments will not contribute value towards resolution of a particular situation or problem, it may be best to remain quiet versus saying something just because you feel that you have to say something. Your goal should be always contributing value through communication or actions, not empty words. If someone needs empty words, they can always get a copy of a dictionary when needed. Don’t you agree?
Pro-Active approach to problem uncovering and solving
Just like ‘big picture’ way of thinking, pro-active approach requires looking at each situation as a whole versus an individual chunks, while considering all possible outcomes of your actions or lack thereof.
With pro-active approach to problem uncovering and solving you are expected to address a specific situation in advance and preventing negative outcomes of inaction. I am sure you will agree that most of the problems that we run into can be avoided or at least the negative impact can be less severe, if we simply take actions pro-actively in finding a solution. However, what happens most of the time is some people are waiting until the last minute before taking any actions, which is often too late and negative impact cannot be avoided.
By utilizing ‘big picture’ way of thinking and leading, as well as pro-active approach to problem uncovering and solving could help you significantly improve personally and professionally, lead more effectively, and avoid or mitigate negative outcomes by turning them into positive results.
Effective leadership is leading several steps ahead versus several steps behind.
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