Leadership

Seek the Big Picture

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It may seem counterintuitive that being a perfectionist can actually keep you from working at your best, but it’s true—while you may be happier with the end result, you become much less efficient.

80% of output can be achieved in 20% of time spent. Thus, the more you strive for 100% perfection, the more valuable time you’re wasting that could be spent on another project.

The key to avoiding this trap is to know the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. Obsessing over the details won’t accomplish anything—and may not even produce a noticeable difference in the final product to anyone but you. Once you’ve accomplished the main goal, move on—you can get so much more done on the next objective in line instead of fussing over problems that don’t really matter.

Once you’ve decided on the big picture, the rest becomes easier as you just need to fill in the gaps required to reach your target One reason for doing this, is that you often won’t recognize the details that matter most until after you’ve created your end goal. Once you start building on the big picture, you’ll begin to see what’s missing. And it’s only at this time that you need to pay attention to the details.

The bottom line is that everyone needs to see the Big Picture. This kind of thinking creates context and enables people to honor the values we seek to live and work by. People, typically, are not motivated by values alone. Instead, people are drawn to outcomes. The more connected and integral you and your staff feel to the business, the less likely you are to subscribe to the “us and them factor.” Avoiding this attitude results in being less likely to disregard our values in dealing with others, because we feel more of a connection to others with whom we share the business.

When followed up with action, regularly scheduled divergent big-picture thinking can bring new, better ideas to light, and give you confidence that the small tasks you’re doing all day are steps along the right path.