How Big Picture Thinkers Seize More Opportunities in 7 Steps
What kind of opportunities do big picture thinkers have? Infinite.
They see possibilities and are always looking to learn something new, grow and adapt.
Big picture thinkers are not unicorns - rare and mystical. And they were not born with the innate ability to think big. They do, however, pay attention to the broader landscape and take the time to think, analyze and evaluate.
Big picture thinkers start by analyzing their industry and how their business fits into the larger market. Next they thoughtfully consider the purpose of their organization. If their company is not clear on its purpose, they interview and ask questions until it becomes crystal clear. Now they can understand how their role fits into moving the organization forward.
Micro thinkers focus first on themselves and second on their job description. They consider the work required within the four corners of the page and nothing more. They limit themselves and in doing so miss out on opportunities.
Notice that we didn’t mention that big picture thinkers focus on their personal agenda. They know that if they work toward the organization's broader mission, their personal goals will be achieved in the process.
Here are 7 things big picture thinkers do EVERY DAY. They:
- Take responsibility to learn, grow and change on their own.
- Are optimistic and imagine possibilities.
- Assess, reassess and consider options - researching and analyzing from many different angles.
- Look past silos and think through solutions.
- Understand how their goals align with the organization's objectives.
- Actively listen, not just to what is said, but what is not said.
- Trust their gut and listen to their intuition.
Big picture thinkers take the time to connect the dots. They gain insight and perspective that others do not which creates more opportunities to engage, contribute and grow
Big picture thinkers see possibilities and in doing so they are asked to participate in areas that are not within the four corners of their job descriptions.
If you want to take a crack at big picture thinking we recommend you START with the following:
- Read industry publications and pay attention to what your competitors are doing.
- Read your company’s annual report.
- Seek to understand your organization's goals and mission.
- Ask your manager to help you understand how your team’s goals fit into the organization’s goals.
- Ask questions about how and why things work the way they do.
Once you gain a bigger perspective, THINK.
Do you see new opportunities that have not been explored?
Can you communicate your ideas effectively to other people in your organization?
Do you have a new awareness about how to break through obstacles?
Once you become a big picture thinker there is no turning back. Share your perspective and insights with others and roll up your sleeves - opportunities are going to come your way!
I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me
I was talking to my pal “Jonas” who recently decided to freelance (vs building a multi-consultant business) when he left a bigger firm to do his own thing.
Jonas is a global talent guy who works across the planet for some of the world’s most well known companies. He decided his best play—the one that would allow him to focus on what he loves most and live the life he’s planned—is to freelance for other firms.
His plan got off to a bit of a rocky start because—get this—none of the firms he approached believed he’d actually want to “just” freelance. He’d earned his rep by steadily building deep, brand name client relationships, practices and business, not by going off by himself as a solo.
Or as he put it “I have a brand and it haunts me.”
We both had a good belly laugh because he was already rolling in new projects, thrilled with his choice to freelance.
And yet, isn’t that the truth?
Good, bad, indifferent—our brands DO haunt us.
They whisper messages to those in our circle “trust him, he’s the bomb”, “hire her for anything creative as long as your deadline isn’t critical”, “steer clear—he talks a good game but doesn’t deliver”.
And thanks to social media, those messages—good and bad—can accelerate faster than you can imagine. One client, one reader, one buyer can be the pivot point that takes your consulting business to new territory.
So how do you deal with it?
Yep—you go for more of what comes naturally. In Jonas’ case, he stuck with what he’s known for—his work, his relationships, his track record for integrity—and won over any lingering skepticism about his move.
We weather the bumps in the road by staying true to who we are at our core.
So when a potential client says “Sorry, you’re just too expensive for me”, you don’t run out and change your prices. Instead, you listen carefully and realize they aren’t the right fit for your particular brand of expertise and service.
When a social media troll chooses you to lash out at, you ignore them and stay with your true audience—your sweet-spot clients and buyers.
And when your most challenging client tells you it’s time to change your business model to serve them better, you listen closely (there may be some learning here) and—if it doesn’t suit your strengths—you kiss them good-bye.
If your brand isn’t haunting you, is it really much of a brand?
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