Big Picture vs. Detail-Oriented Thinking

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

As you are organizing your business, a balance of big thinkers and detail-oriented people are needed. This ensures that ideas and opportunities are presented and the details are executed.

Two Different Types of Thinking

Businesses face a wide variety of problems that require a diverse way of thinking and problem solving. One of the most important aspects of diverse thinking is in how employees approach creating ideas, solving problems and organizing work. Companies who value both big picture and detail-oriented thinking have a great chance at success and growing the business faster.

Definition of Big Picture Thinking?

Big picture thinking is the ability to come up with ideas, solutions and opportunities. Big thinkers see possibilities and jump on opportunities. They are willing to take risks because they see the chance to make big gains.

Imagine that you are a big picture thinker, working for a water park company. You're really excited to open a water sports complex that has boats, sea-doos, paddle boards and all kinds of fun toys. You love being in the water, and you see opportunities to attract water enthusiasts. You are on the cutting edge of water toys and offer the latest and greatest. The cost to open the complex is going to be quite high. However, you believe you can make a big return on your savings if you put it towards an exciting business.

You envision the largest facility of its kind within a 5-state region. You plan to draw in families, corporate events, community groups and all types of organizations that want to play hard. Your big thinking is risky, but you see big rewards in the future.

Advantages of Big Picture Thinking

There are many advantages to being a big picture thinker:

  1. You are motivated. You see the opportunity, and you are willing to get the support you need to make your dream a reality.
  2. You have lots of ideas. You continuously have new ideas in your mind. In fact, it can be challenging to stay focused on one because there are so many!
  3. You don't see problems. You can quickly come up with solutions to potential obstacles and are fast at solving problems.
  4. You see big possibilities. Big picture thinkers think big. You can see the big picture - potentially, financially or otherwise - of the plans and get very excited about how an idea could play out.

Definition of Detail-Oriented Thinking?

Detail-oriented thinking is a more precise way of planning, organizing and managing activities with specific details. Detail-oriented people are not visionaries but are very good at executing the details of a plan. They likely over-think things in the process of organizing the plans. Detail-oriented people often are considered lacking common sense because they may not fully comprehend how all of the various pieces of a project. They are focused on the narrow area they are working on.

When considering your watercraft business, you recognize that you need detail-oriented people on your team to ensure all of the elements of the plan are handled. You hire a manager who is very focused on specifics, and you give him the tasks of creating the to-do list for each aspect of the business. Your manager thinks through everything that needs to be done, from organizing the facility to ensuring the proper licenses and insurances are secured. A detail-oriented person is vital to the fine details being completed.

Advantages of Being Detail-Oriented

If you are a project manager or business manager, you undoubtedly want some detail-oriented people on your team. There are several advantages to this type of thinking:

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