I was doing my normal juggling of “leader” and “mom” roles. I was feeling pretty good about the “mom” part as I drove to the stadium that night.
Sure I was on a conference call the whole way there, but I pulled into the parking lot well before halftime. The marching band had not yet entered the field– that’s a win.
There was plenty of time to set up to take the pictures I had promised my son for his senior year. I found the perfect spot, got some great facial expressions, and even some action shots.
I drove home proudly and uploaded them to Photoshop. I adjusted everything just right and excitedly showed them to my son.
“Mom, did you get the guitar?”
Huh? “Ben, you play mellophone”
“Mom, the band moves into a fantastic formation… it looks like a guitar…right in time with the music… did you get a picture of that?”
I had completely missed the big picture…
It happens at work too
My phone rang, it was one of the leaders on my team.
“Karin, you know that project you asked me to look into?”
He continued”….well, all the milestones are on track… IT, HR, Operations… everyone has met their deliverables…but…”
The project looked good on paper, but we both knew something was wrong.
Results weren’t moving.
The big picture was messy.
“We have to stop thinking about this as a project….we need to step back and figure out what needs to be done.”
He was right.
Why We Miss The Big Picture
Sometimes we get too close, and put our heads down doing tasks.
There is danger in looking at a project as a project.
We miss the big picture because we…
- Follow a template (see Recycling or Reinventing the Wheel?)
- Focus on tasks, over root cause
- Don’t ask the Obvious Questions
- Followed directions blindly (see Give the Guy a Brake)
- Are afraid to say it’s not working (see How to Tell your Boss the Truth)
- Don’t talk to one another (see Team Chemistry…)
- Don’t have the right plan
- Don’t have the right metrics built into the plan
- Are overly focused on doing
- Are working too fast
- ? What would you add?
Sometimes we need to stop. Look up. Take in the whole scene.
Stop looking at the project as a “project.”
Please share your thoughts, what prevents you from seeing the big picture?
Do you like Let’s Grow Leaders? Please help spread the word by subscribing, commenting, and sharing.
It's free, thought-provoking, and practical. Rest assured that I will never sell your e-mail address.