Why Can’t You See The Big Picture?

Why Can’t You See The Big Picture? post image

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.”

What prevents you from seeing the big picture?
Filed Under:   Communication
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

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What People Are Saying

ecdingler   |   31 January 2013   |   Reply

WOW, did I use to struggle with this. Actually, for the earliest part of my leadership career…I didn’t even know I was doing it. It’s so easy to get going in the fast moving day to day operations and fun of the work. The biggest lesson I learned on this is from Andy Stanley. Work on it, not just in it. I have a regular time scheduled with my leadership team where we go off property to work on our organization. It’s good to take camp into the garage every so often, rotate the tires, change the oil and give it a good look under the hood.

letsgrowleaders   |   31 January 2013   |   Reply

Eric, “work on it, not just in it.” perfect. Thank you!

Regina Verow   |   31 January 2013   |   Reply

I think we sometimes miss the big picture simply because we don’t know what we’re looking for. – Just like the guitar-

letsgrowleaders   |   31 January 2013   |   Reply

Regina, ahhh yes… so important to be open to possibilities. Namaste.

Seona Cruz   |   16 December 2013   |   Reply

As a project manager, I use Scrum in my projects. The Guide to Scrum Body of Knowledge by SCRUMstudy provided a complete reference for the Scrum project I am working with. It is a very good book and extremely readable. I really liked sections on risk and quality. The tools mentioned in the processes were very helpful. I highly recommend this book if you are planning to implement Scrum in your organization. You can go through the first chapter available on