While in conversation with a senior executive, he asked a crucial question, “How do I ensure that I am thinking about the big picture?”

I knew what he had in his mind. While running a gap analysis and functionality test, I watched him sucked into day-to-day operations, spending a lot of his time on small things that seems to be the priority of the day for him.

It’s so easy to get dragged in the daily fires.

I agree with you that being heads down is essential, but it is even more critical to always lookup. To keep yourself grounded, continually reflect on how business is running, consider how you can do it any differently. Consider alternative strategies, and what are you lacking that is pulling you into small things more than you should be. Ask yourself the high-level hard questions on Why and How?

Question is how you can empower yourself to step back and look at the big picture? How can you lead your team effectively so that you can stay focused on the big picture and making hard decisions?

Here are some strategies that have been helpful to me:

  1. Block your calendar: I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the most familiar ones, but it is still the hard one to apply to your day. Determine the most productive time when your creativity is at a peak. For me, it is the moment I wake up. Reading an article on my iPhone activates my brain, I reflect, look at goals and make notes off anything different I should do in the day or else follow the schedule I have created for myself. Keep in mind, it can be early in the morning, afternoon or late in the evening, whichever works for you. Block that time to think and have a clear vision and what steps you need to take that year, that month and that day. Keep re-aligning your thoughts and actions that keep you focused on moving in the right direction and keep your thoughts on the big picture.
  2. Articulate your thoughts and Ideas: Ask yourself the high-level questions during your thinking time. What is the end goal you want to accomplish? What is the purpose of doing so? Are you doing it correctly, or do you need to introduce new ideas and approaches? It helps me in seeing the clear picture and the roadmap I have planned to reach my vision. Just keeps me in check, so will it for you.
  3. Don’t hesitate to bring onboard a coach or a mentor: Unless you are outstanding to focus and articulate not only your thoughts but your strategy implementation plan, think about connecting with a coach or a mentor. I have and always encourage others to find someone that can understand you, your business and can challenge you. Alternately, I buddy up with my inner soul and think more in-depth on the strategies, work plans and put myself in my client’s shoes to improve the quality of my work.  It is not creepy; it works, listening to your inner soul, your gut feeling, and then you can always back it up with the data and facts you see in your business and activities around.
  4. Breaking down your goals or the problem on hand: When planning for the big picture, frame a structure to implement. If the plan is complicated or burdensome, break down the goals into smaller steps and pieces to make them doable. If it is a problem on hand, identify with various possible solutions. For example: How can I help the technicians that report to me to be more productive? Solutions: Establish a Mentoring/ Buddy System or hiring/onboarding process. Never assume that solutions are easy to implement. Never assume that solutions are easy to implement. I have met so many executives that know or have a pretty good idea of what solutions can be but are hesitant to take the step. They will come with their challenges and roadblocks. Once you take a step towards the remedy, you will start seeing the positive outcome after that.

Remember that you can spend the time in doing the smaller things or task of your team to save the day, but who is doing yours in that case? And how long will this sustain your business and hold the initiatives that entirely need your involvement? Maybe, you can block the calendar to take a deep dive and think over the current to plan the next rocking steps for you and your business?

Until next time, Kiran.