“How do I make sure that I am thinking big-picture, while most of my time is going into small things?”, asked a Program Manager after reading my earlier article on 5 ways to improve strategic thinking.
If you are a Manager or Business Owner, one of the most important qualities you will want to have in you and your team is the ability to see and think big.
Big-picture thinkers realise there is the world out there besides their own and they make an effort to get outside of themselves and see other people’s worlds through their eyes. It’s hard to see the picture while inside the frame.” – Jonh Maxwell.
Most Professionals and even some Managers don’t have an idea and understanding of the entirety of what they are doing.
For example, in a Hospital, everyone starting from the Doctors to Nurses to Lab Technicians to Pharmacists should have a holistic understanding of what they are doing from a larger perspective. If everyone starts working within their own boundary without knowing the complete picture, it’s going to be a disaster for the patient under treatment.
Here are five practical steps that will help you understand the big-picture thinking.
1. Build solid systems and processes:
Thinking big isn’t easy given the nature of fire fighting most of us have to do in our workplace on daily basis. Building solid systems and processes to streamline your mundane activities could ease out time for big thinking. Make sure that your involvement into the day to day operations or small things are kept to the minimum possible for your to free up your time and mind from all the small clutter.
More you are away from your operational issues, more you will be able to think bigger and better for the future. Hence systematically build rock solid systems, methods and processes to get things done effectively without much of your involvements and efforts.
2. Open up and expand your world:
In all my understanding, world around is not fully digital in nature. It is analogous with multiple possibilities. There is no only one single solution for any business or personal problems. Things could be solved in multiple ways and methods. This attitude of multiple possibilities arises only when you open up and start seeing the world from various perspectives. Seeing the world through other people’s eyes will surely help you widen your visions and thinking possibility.
Inculcating the habit of seizing new opportunities, meeting new people and opening up to new horizons will surely add to your big picture thinking abilities.
3. Get experiences and knowledge outside your work:
Getting experiences and knowledge outside your own work environments could add a great deal of exposure to wider things and in turn enable big thinking ability. Taking up projects, opportunities beyond your domain of work and call of duty will surely add better experiences and knowledge to your kitty.
Your cognitive competencies will significantly improve only if you get into cross learning from multiple domains in and around your areas of expertise. Cross-functional learning will help you understand all your stakeholders better and give you the competitive advantage towards bigger picture thinking and outcomes.
4. Envision big ideas, plans and goals:
Having big ideas and plans is one of the fundamental qualities of thinking big. Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam said, “having a small aim is a big crime”. Imagine all the possibilities and build larger goals that you would aspire to reach. It’s not about blindly setting wildly ambitious goals those are unrealistic.
It’s all about understanding the larger possibilities and opportunities. The best managers are the ones who take big risks and also continuously strive to improve upon themselves with more challenging ambitions to achieve. More important, stop listening those people around you who will discourage you seeing your audacious aspirations.
5. Cultivate the habit of thinking big:
It’s all about what and how you think. A single thought can grow over time into a powerful habit of thinking big and eventually, takes over your personal psychology and propels you to achieve your dreams. Every time you think about something, ask yourself am I thinking big in this context or am I just trying to survive by solving the problems for time being.
We’ve been conditioned from our early childhood to think small, be practical and not to over dream about life. Don’t fall prey to the rule of “how things have always been done”. Find your true goals and push past the default, aspire big and build this habit of thinking big into all your daily routines.
Following all these steps of thinking big, should enable you to regularly practice big-picture thinking, bring new, better ideas to light, and give you the ability to achieve great goals and larger aspirations. What’s important is doing this regularly on daily basis in all your endeavours, irrespective of whether the outcome is big or small.
The magic eventually happens only with consistency and persistence.