Getting Out of the Weeds to See the Forest


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August 2, 2017

Lately, I’ve been working with several clients who are interested in “getting out of the weeds” so that they can see the forest.  In a few cases the last few weeks, we have talked about strategy and reviewed key information about customers, demand, supply and financials.  Although there were benefits to each piece (including being able to make decisions such as in-sourcing/ outsourcing, equipment purchases, lease renegotiation, and hiring), it was no comparison to the value of seeing the BIG PICTURE.   

Similar to driving to work on a daily basis and not remembering how you got there, we are often caught up in the weeds of day-to-day execution.  It can be vital but we can miss the larger forest.  For example, we could be focused on improving a business process such as order entry for a specific customer with an eye to making it ‘perfect or ideal’ and miss the point – why are we entering orders at all for this particular customer?

One tip to implement this week: 
Seeing the big picture is a talent; however, you also can deliberately set out to improve your vision of the big picture.  Why not dedicate time this week to a few simple tasks?  Start by thinking about a few questions:

  • Why am I doing this process?  
  • Do I see beyond the next step?  What is the end goal?  
  • Once you are thinking more about the forest, take a step back to observe.  Have you been “seeing” what is really going on and how what you are doing fits in?  

Seeing the bigger picture isn’t a solo activity.  Collaborate with your peers, employees, managers, customers, suppliers, and trusted advisers where appropriate.  Be on the lookout for this big picture.  Have you ever noticed that if you plan to buy a car, suddenly you see a whole lot more cars on the road of interest?  Or, if you are having a baby, suddenly babies appear out of the woodwork everywhere you go?  The same concept applies as you look for the big picture.  Soon, it will emerge.