The simple truth is that in order to move from meager growth to exponential growth, you’ve got to think big. Allow yourself to envision a time in the not-so-distant future —
Understanding how to see the big picture can help you prioritize effectively, set better goals and improve time management. By developing a complete perspective of a situation, you can make decisions that drive long-term results, which can help you advance in your career.
What is the big picture
In Getting Things Done, David Allen uses an altitude metaphor to describe what he calls “horizons of focus.” It’s a good way to understand the concept because the metaphor gives you a framework for how to see the big picture in your business. The higher you go, the more you see.
0 feet – the runway: this is the day to day, where you are focused on your calendar and next actions
10,000 feet – projects: all the balls you have in the air at any given time
20,000 feet – areas of responsibility: in your solopreneur business, this would be all the different hats you wear, like CEO, CFO, marketing, product development, etc.
30,000 feet – 1-to 2-year goals and objectives
40,000 feet – 3-to 5-year vision
50,000 feet – purpose and values
Seeing the bigger picture means thinking about how your actions can affect the overall success of a project or company aim, rather than focusing on minor details. Big-picture thinking can be crucial for achievement in the workplace because knowing what to focus on can help you budget your time efficiently, manage stress levels and create actionable, achievable goals. You can use big picture thinking in a variety of roles, including:
Getting clarity for your big picture
In order to hone in on what your big-picture vision is for your company, start by asking yourself two questions:
What do you want to create with your business?
How far do you want your business to go in the world?
In answering these questions, look at where you’ve come from, what passion drove you to launch your business and what goals you’ve had thus far. What has worked? What feels like it might need some fresh direction? Give yourself space to reflect and envision a powerful future for you and your company.
Schedule some time to unplug completely, and take a walk in nature. Studies have shown again and again that this kind of personal time is ideal for emotional health and creativity, so use this to jumpstart your big-picture vision
Here are some more leading questions to toss around in your creative mind as you work on honing your vision:
What unique skills make you the very best at something?
How much are you charging for your products/services now? Should you be charging more?
How many employees do you have? How many do you need for your company to achieve exponential growth?
What will your employees ideally be saying about working for you in this future vision?
What will your clients be saying?
How is your company perceived by the public in three years time? What is the media saying about you?
How will most of your time be spent in relation to your company? How much personal time will you have?
What will your gross revenue, net profit, salary and other key financials look like in three years time?
Once you imagine where you want to be in life and career, focus on making that a reality. Picture it as if it will absolutely manifest. Allow doubt to fall away, and put all your energy and enthusiasm behind making this dream a reality.
If you’re wondering where to start in manifesting this big-picture vision, giving yourself creative quiet time — like the nature walk I mentioned — is key. If you stay in worker-bee mode, with your head down, mired in whatever work is in front of you that particular day, it will be next to impossible to create the kind of growth you need to succeed.
Needing help seeing the big picture here are five steps
Know your assumptions
Know your assumptions. It is important to clearly define and understand your assumptions. You must know what your assumptions are so you can monitor your results and adjust accordingly. If you aren’t reaching your projected numbers you can then compare the actual results to your assumptions and see what needs to be changed.
Have consistent marketing
Marketing is the relationship your business has with your customers – advertising, promotions and sales are all functions of marketing. Line up all your promotional material, business cards, e-mail signatures and online profiles and make sure they are consistent.
Get comfortable with your numbers
A common mistake for small business owners is to view finances through an emotional lens, meaning they either look at them with fear when times are tight or delight when business is booming. However, looking at finances from this standpoint means you will miss important information such as what and why things are working or not working. Instead be open and curious with your finances. When you are constantly curious — in both good times and bad — you will always be learning and thinking constructively on how you can improve your business.