6 Simple Techniques to Help Your Employees See the Big Picture

If you’re like most managers, you know the importance of helping your team see the bigger picture. You would do more, if you only had the time. The occasional all-hands meetings help, but without interim reinforcement, those motivational meetings can feel like a fire hose of plans and numbers. If you want your team to truly “get it,” sprinkle little bits of big picture reinforcement into their week.

6 Ways to Get Your Employees to See the Big Picture

“The big picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time.”  -Simon Sinek

1.”Postcards”

It’s easy to forget that the main reason many employees don’t think more strategically is a lack of information. It’s hard to connect the dots when a third of them are invisible.  It’s also tough to translate all you heard three days later. What I’ve found works quite well is just to send soundbites out via text message throughout some of the more strategic meetings I attend.

I make them fun and relevant to their roles. It creates interest and sets the table for the more robust conversations that follow.  These have worked for years, long before 140 characters was the way of the world. “Oh boy, Competitor X just launched new plans that will change the way customers think about our pricing. Let’s talk more on Monday.”

2. Gamification

It’s easier than ever to turn learning into a game. In most of my keynotes I use kiwilive as a simple platform to poll or ask questions, poll everywhere is free for up to 25 responses (no, neither of these companies are paying me).  Participants can “compete” on who knows your big picture fun facts from the convenience of their phone.

3. Bring-a-Friend Staff Meetings

Sometimes the best way to understand how sausage is made, is to help make it. Giving people exposure to the conversation and thought process, not just the outcomes of strategic decisions, goes a long way in helping people connect the dots. Every time I’ve held a “bring-a-friend staff meeting” where my direct reports each bring one of their direct reports, you can almost see the light bulbs going on.

4. Field Trips

There’s a reason every elementary school takes a trip to the zoo. You can read about giraffes all you want, but until you have one bend down and lick your face, it’s hard to really understand what they’re all about. There’s real power in taking a “field trip” to another department and seeing how they really think and operate.

5. Mentoring Circles

I’ve shared this idea with you before. I’m repeating my self because mentoring circles work. Click here for more information.   If you want more information on mentoring you can download my FREE eBook, Mentoring in the Age of the Millennial from my new ecourse landing page.

6. Teaching Operations Reviews

Another one of my key go-tos. For step-by-step instructions click here.

Effective managers are translators. Help your team see the bigger picture. Before you motivate, translate.

BONUS TRACKS: FREE Webinars, Radio Interviews and HBR

Karin Hurt Promo

reorganizationIf you’re free on Wednesday October 28, I’ll be out in the online-world making a bit of a ruckus.

At 1pm, I’m joining Twan van de Kerkhof on a panel: Is the Future of Leadership More Personal (I bet you can guess my POV).

At 2pm EST I’Il be on Faces of Success Radio talking about David Dye’s and my upcoming book, Winning Well (click on the image to enlarge).

Also, I was recently interviewed in this article for HBR on about What To Do and Say After a Tough Reorganization. Such circumstances can hurt or help your career. If you’re faced with a reorganization, I hope this helps.

5 Reasons to Lose a Battle- And How To Lose It With Grace

If I had to pick a side, I would have chosen hers. But picking sides was entirely beside the point.

The other guy’s heels were dug in deeper than skis sunk in a tree well of deep powder. No amount of convincing was going to change his mind. “It’s time to let it go.” I offered. “This battle is not worth winning.

“But I’m right, she insisted.”

That’s entirely possible. But the battle was weakening the relationship, and was making the project much less fun. When projects feel hard, they seldom blossom with creativity which is what we needed most. Plus the wasted energy was exhausting all of us.

Should the other, older and theoretically more mature guy have been the one to succumb? Perhaps. But he didn’t. Age isn’t necessarily a leadership competency.

And so I offer our collective wisdom from the scar tissue from this battle. I’m book marking this page as a reminder to myself as well. Battle losing is never handled.

5 Reasons to Lose a Battle

1. To maintain your dignity.

This may sound counterintuitive, but trust me, no one shows up at their very best when they’re spitting teeth mad. Even the ugly words that you’re saying on the inside ooze toxins from your pores.

2. To enhance your reputation

Others are watching how you handle the small battles. People respect (and look to follow) leaders who get the big picture and focus on the end game over minor irritations and disagreements.

3. To win the war

Getting mired down in the debate over the small stuff will drain the energy for what matters most.

4. You might be wrong

Just saying.

5. To preserve the relationship.

In long-term collaborations it’s almost always true that it’s more important to preserve the relationship rather than win on some minor point. Even if you’re majorly ticked off, consider the satellite relationships that are impacted by your disagreement.

How To Decide If a Battle’s Worth Losing

Members of our online community weighed in with some initial advice. I hope you’ll add yours.

Carey Green:

I find a simple question is helpful at times like this. ” Will my insistence on being right benefit or bless this person or advance our cause?” 

David Dye:

The phrase I use is “Do you want to be effective…or “right”?” As a leader, your team exists to achieve results. That, and the leaders you leave behind you, are the measures of success. More of than not, insistence on being ‘right’ prevents you from achieving either of those outcomes.

Why Can't You See The Big Picture?

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…

Sometimes we need to stop. Look up. Take in the whole scene.
Stop looking at the project as a “project.”

Why Can’t You See The Big Picture?

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…

Sometimes we need to stop. Look up. Take in the whole scene.
Stop looking at the project as a “project.”