Steps to Management Success – Step 94: See the Big Picture

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 8th, 2010

STEP NINETY-FOUR

See the Big Picture

It’s important to “sweat the details,” and the successful outcome of many projects, plans, and presentations depends on it, but good managers need to have sharp long-range vision too. Sometimes fixing the immediate problem ignores the fact that said problem is just a symptom of an even larger problem. Try to see a little further.

WHAT IT MEANS: Like a car, businesses are complex integrated systems, and you can’t just focus on one system to the exclusion of others. What’s good for Marketing may not always be good for Production—especially if Marketing forgot to tell Production about the anticipated spike in demand expected to result from their new promotion. This isn’t just about keeping everyone in the loop. It’s about considering how various plans and problems impact all the areas of the business. It’s about considering long-term solutions over quick, easy, but temporary Band-Aid fixes. And it’s about thinking two or three moves ahead of your competition even as you’re thinking about your current move. It’s the kind of thinking that can lead to more critically considered decisions—and that’s just a smarter way to manage.

ACTION PLAN: Before committing to a decision, give it a 360-degree view. How is it likely to impact on other areas of your business (and what can be done to minimize or avoid negative impact)? Does it mesh with your strategic long-range plan—or might you be inadvertently steering your company in a new direction? What can/should you do to sell the plan to your boss or garner the support of other managers or your team? What new problems or issues might it create?

EVEN BETTER: Challenge your team members to view their ideas—and yours—from a big-picture perspective. You can coach this by asking them questions that force such critical evaluation—and demand that this approach be followed independently in the future.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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