Barriers to Big Picture Thinking

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  • 0:02 Importance of Big…
  • 0:56 Challenges of Big…
  • 2:50 Example
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Your company feels very stuck. You want to grow and make big changes, but for some reason you're still in the same place. Use this lesson to determine if you need to remove barriers to big picture thinking in your organization.

Importance of Big Picture Thinking

Big picture thinking is one of the most vital skills needed in business. Each day challenges arise that need creative analysis and out-of-the-box solutions. Additionally, big ideas are needed to create opportunities for growth and take the business to the next level. Without employees who have the ability to come up with big picture ideas, a company can become stale and growth will stagnate. It's the big picture ideas that ignite a company's success.

Imagine you have a wonderful coffee shop that is growing about 10% every year. You're thrilled that your company is surviving, as many other companies have not weathered the economic storm as well. However, you're feeling stuck because the big growth you expected isn't happening. You've never been a risk taker and are conservative in your plans. It's apparent you need a big picture thinker to help you create strategies that will really catapult your business in the next three years.

Let's look at some challenges that get in the way of big picture thinking…

Challenges of Big Picture Thinking

Company Culture Limitations

First, there's company culture limitations. The company culture can impact the ability to generate big picture ideas. Employees working in a very restricted, controlled environment who are given little authority or support from management probably won't be motivated to share their best ideas. In fact, some of the best ideas in companies like this are never shared or simply get stuck with lower-level managers.

Employees Are Not Naturally Gifted Big Picture Thinkers

Another barrier to big picture thinking is when employees are not naturally gifted big picture thinkers. Some managers tend to hire employees who are just like them. When a detail-oriented manager hires other detail-oriented people, the organization can get stuck in details without ever hearing big picture ideas. Many interview processes do not have a strategy to determine if a person has the ability to think in a big picture way. As a result, the growth of the company is limited.

Big Picture Ideas Are Not Acted On

Sometimes, big picture ideas are not acted upon. Maybe you have a company in which big picture ideas are presented one right after another. In fact, a meeting doesn't end without several amazing ideas being shared. Yet none of the ideas are explored, let alone implemented. Over time, employees share fewer of their ideas and start to shut down because their past efforts went unnoticed. Not being heard not only discourages employees from offering insights, it can cause them to be less motivated overall.

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