Getting Out of the Weeds to See the Forest

August 5, 2017
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Turning Everyday Interactions into Profitable Opportunities

I’ve been working with several clients recently who are interested in “getting out of the weeds” so that they can “see the forest”. In a few cases, we’ve 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 being able to see the BIG PICTURE.

See the big picture, the forest not the trees!

Similar to driving to work every day and not remembering how you got there, we are often caught in the weeds of day-to-day execution. These events can be vital to the business but we can miss the larger forest by never taking a step back. For example, we could be focused on improving a process like order entry for a specific customer with an eye to making it ‘perfect or ideal’ and miss the point – why are we entering orders for this customer in the first place? It is strategically necessary? How does this step affect others along the process?

One tip to implement this week: 

Seeing the big picture is a sometimes a unique 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 these questions:

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

Note: 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 result – the end goal. Have you ever noticed that if you plan to buy a car, suddenly you see many more cars on the road that look good? 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 – and you will emerge from the weeds.

 

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