What mindset do EMBA graduates need for long-term success? How can they think big picture in a quarterly environment and why does it even matter? According to Alyssa Gregory, the founder of Small Business Bonfire, big picture thinking provides confirmation of your goals and your strategies for achieving them, peace of mind that what you’re investing in your business supports its objectives, and justification that it’s worth expending time and energy to overcome temporary challenges.
Make Time to Think About the Big Picture
It’s difficult to think about the big picture when many things take up your time. U.S. News cited academic Sharon M. Oster who said “understanding the importance of thinking about the long term, not the immediate term; of thinking about others, not only yourself; of thinking about values, not only brains” is a key leadership attribute
If the next items on your to-do list dominate your thinking, finding time to consider the big picture is difficult. Justin Rosenstein of Fast Company suggests blocking off time to consider the big picture on your daily calendar. Choose whatever time you can afford in the periods you’re most creative. Take deep breaths and contemplate your company’s direction and how to get there.
Identify Existing Problems
At Washington State University, EMBA students learn to think critically on an executive level and strategically make decisions. This unique training is ideally suited to identifying problems within a business structure and their long-term ramifications.
Once you’ve identified a problem, Mr. Rosenstein suggests developing several solutions. This way, you can consider the cost, effort, and potential results of implementing each solution. Considering potential efforts to resolve each problem that will impact your organization should help you settle on the best one for your business.
Choose Specific Goals
Big questions are essential for helping companies evolve and innovate, but Mr. Rosenstein suggests asking the big questions in ways that don’t feel burdensome or insurmountable for your colleagues. He suggests breaking down the big picture questions into smaller sets of specific goals. This will make them easier to answer and thus more actionable.
The business landscape is always changing and companies must adapt and evolve to remain relevant so, Ms. Gregory encourages companies to conduct regular productivity check-ins. These sessions offer opportunities for businesses to review their projects and processes for efficacy.
Thinking about the big picture requires you to assess and reassess not just what your organization is doing, but also the activities of your competition.
You should also consider your businesses’ progress and whether it’s followed the direction you envisioned at its inception. Finally, your check-in should consider changes in your industry and how they’ll impact your company’s direction. Schedule your productivity check-ins to ensure they occur regularly enough to be beneficial.
The day-to-day tasks of operating a business can easily steal focus, but it’s crucial to step back and consider the bigger picture. Put these strategies in place to ensure big-picture thinking becomes a part of your regular business activities.
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