The Downfall of Big Picture Thinking

As a leader you probably love to dream big. You have grand dreams of where your ministry or business will end up.

The creation of these ideas are exhilarating. They bring you to life.

You’re a big picture thinker.

What is big picture thinking? It’s when you are able to formulate an image of the end result. You can see where you want to go. The image is crystal clear.

Thinking big is a great skill to have. It allows us to get creative and give a great vision to our team.

Yet we’re often prone to being blindsided by the details. I know I am.

I love to have grandiose plans. A master vision of where I want to be. It comes easy to me.

The problem is I can’t see the small details. The individual steps that must be taken.

It’s the reverse of the saying “They can’t see the forest for the trees.” I can’t see the “trees from the forest.”

We often plough so much energy into the big picture, we forget the pixels.
Silvia Cartwright

Are any of you like that? I hope I’m not alone.

Thankfully there’s a few things you can do to avoid this leadership pitfall.

1. Partner with a detail person: They may not be able to see the forest for the trees but they can see the trees in the forest. The details are crystal clear and they can guide you towards the steps you need to take. Don’t neglect these detail people! They can be your greatest asset.

2. Break down the big picture: Examine the dream you have. Take time to look for what steps will be needed to accomplish it. Work back from the end to the beginning. Doing it this way can be much easier than trying to go from beginning to end.

3. Create lists: Lists can help you with idea 2. It allows you to write it out and see the details. Pay close attention and give your best in figuring out the steps you need to take. Also, create lists for items that you will need to reach the big picture: Money, equipment, time, etc…

Big picture thinking is awesome. We all need to get to the point where we can see it. But you can’t fall into the trap of missing the details.

Take time to step back from the big picture and see the trees. Each one is a detail that must be completed.

When you’re seeing the details and taking steps to accomplish the tasks, your big picture will come together.

Details create the big picture.
Sanford I. Weill

Question: What do you miss when you’re only looking at the big picture? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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