Seeing The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Seeing the big picture is not something everyone can do. From Sleep Walker’s Flickr photostream.

You may have had experiences working with service providers who are highly technical. They can get a functional job completed efficiently. If you need your computer set up or your taxes completed, then a technician will do the job adequately. They are great for specific, turnkey jobs that are repeatable and well-defined. There are technicians who work in large companies as well as for small business ventures. We need them to perform their function consistently and precisely in order to get a predictable result.

However, when it comes to more ambiguous ventures that require creativity and leadership, seeing the big picture – the why not just the what of a problem – is crucial to navigate in unclear territory. Many technicians lack this gift.

Combine the skills of a technician with someone who can see the big picture, and you have a highly valuable person. There is a gap between those who are solely functional and those who can see the context. They can see the forest from the trees, per se.

If you are that person, then your utility as an advisor in complex situations becomes prized.

Fill The Leadership Gap Of Today With Talent

I have worked with all kinds of talent, and knowing who someone is and what their constraints are is critical to success. Someone that can lead themselves and find solutions to complex problems is not the same as someone who needs to be told what to to do next. There are certain projects that may be fine with the latter. The low cost of mere focused technical talent can get you where you need to go quickly if you are the one providing clear leadership.

The problem comes when you don’t have the roadmap or you cannot see the interrelationships that are intuitive to someone who is an expert with technical expertise. They can see the forest and the trees and can decipher how the parts work together as a whole.

Learning how to identify and work with people that can see the big picture is a key leadership attribute in the new economy. It is a talent battle. We have access to people, but the hard part is understanding the nuance or the blatant disparities in talent and aptitude. Make the wrong call and you can be set back or jeopardize your own work.

When you meet someone special that can see the big picture and get the work done, hold on tight. They will help you get you where you need to go. Be cautious with the rest.

Have you had such experience when dealing with talent? What has been your approach to hiring those that can see the big picture from those that cannot?

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