Make Time For Big-Picture Thinking
As a business leader, one of your principal roles is to guide your team to achieve big-picture goals. To do that, finding time to regularly step back and reflect on those objectives is crucial. Those pauses for reflection allow leaders to maintain their eyes on the target, take stock of a team’s current position and reorient if necessary to successfully accomplish the plan.
Constant emails, phone calls, meetings, questions from team members, admin and other day-to-day responsibilities can really eat up your time and distract you from big-picture thinking and revision.
Effective time management is key. Be choosy when accepting meeting invitations. Try to determine the reason for the meeting and if your attendance is necessary to achieve results. If not, politely decline and ask for minutes if you want them. If your input is required for a meeting, maintain a “hard out” in an attempt to keep things concise.
Place recurring non-negotiable blocks of time on your calendar that you can take for the purpose of big-picture thinking. If you don’t schedule it and make it a priority, it will not happen.
In order to make space for those blocks of time, delegate smaller tasks to capable team members. If you are not accustomed to delegating, it can be overwhelming at first and may require time and training. To delegate tasks more effectively, identify the job and provide clear-cut instructions to the delegated team member. Check back in only occasionally to ensure that the work progresses. With reliable professionals taking on smaller projects, you are freed up to redirect your attention to higher-priority matters.
When To Evaluate
Most leaders conduct an annual or semi-annual review of their employees. This might be a great starting benchmark for analyzing a team’s progress toward its goals.
However, the frequency with which you review your big-picture goals throughout the year may depend on company size or the complexity of your goals. If your business plan is multifaceted with each department’s goals intertwined, you may want to take more frequent pauses to step back and analyze progress and next steps.
In an ideal scenario, the CEO will establish and communicate company-wide goals with a specific timeline to all upper-level leadership from the very beginning. Setting intentions from the start is vital.
Once a company-wide goal is in place, CEOs must then check in with their team to make sure that all department heads are on the same page and consistently working toward the overarching goals of the business. Armed with the information of big-picture goals, those department leaders can in turn create department-level plans and objectives for their teams that support the main business goal.
A savvy leader will pause on a regular basis to analyze their team’s role and progress in achieving the larger goal. In doing so, your team can be more versatile and can pivot according to changes in the market or internal factors that might affect your plans. That flexibility can enable you to still achieve objectives despite the unexpected—resulting in ultimate success.
This article has previously been featured on Forbes