SA Leadership Podcast Episode #130

How Great Leaders Think


Cultivate Big Picture Thinking

Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches, or pounds, or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking – David Schwartz

Big-picture thinking can benefit any person in any profession. When Jack Welch reminder and employee that the ongoing relationship of a client is more important than the products we sell – he is reminding them of big-picture thinking. Then Real Estate developer and now President, Donald Trump used to say; “You have to think anyway, so why not think big!” Big-picture thinking brings maturity and wholeness to a person’s thinking. If you dare to spend time with big-picture thinkers you will find some very interesting habits of these individuals.

They Learn Continually – Big-picture thinkers are never satisfied with what they already know. They are visiting new places, reading new books, learning new skills, and meeting new people. Because of this exposure they connect the unconnected. They are life learners! If you cannot articulate your learning goals each year in writing, you are only day-dreaming. Intentionality is the key word.

Listen Intentionally – Listen to people who are experts in areas that you are not. When opportunities arise to learn from others in a conversational setting, know what questions to ask in advance so that learning can be applied to your daily life. Your goal should be that listening teaches you more than speaking. Big-picture thinkers realize they do not know a lot of things. They have learned however to ask penetrating questions.

Look Expansively – Writer Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Many an object is not seen, though it falls within range of our visual ray, because it is not seen within the range of our intellectual ray.” We tend to see our own world first and many times only! It is hard to see beyond the picture if you are always in the frame. You must learn to see from another’s advantage point to broaden your perspective. Learn to get over your agenda and see what others are facing.

Live Completely – A French essayist once wrote, “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live live long and yet live very little.” The truth of the matter is that you can spend your life any way that you want to, but you can only spend it once!

Why Should You Receive The Wisdom of Big-Picture Thinking?

Intuitively, you probably recognize that big-picture thinking is beneficial. No one sets on a course of life to become narrow-minded. Considered these six reasons to become a big-picture thinker.

Big-picture thinking allows you to lead

  • See the vision before others
  • Size up limitations that could hinder and work for solutions
  • Sketch out a picture where the team is going
  • Show how the future connects with the past
  • Seize the moment when the timing is right

Big-picture thinking keeps you on target

Thomas Fuller, chaplain to Charles II observed, “He that is everywhere is nowhere.”

Big-picture thinking allows you to see what others see

One of the most important skills that you can cultivate is the ability to see from another’s perspective. Learn to walk in another person’s shoes.

Big-picture thinking promotes teamwork

If you participate in any team activity, you know the importance of everyone sharing the same vision.

Big-picture thinking keeps you from getting caught up in the mundane

Let’s face the truth; some aspects of life are absolutely necessary, but thoroughly uninterested. Do not become bogged down in the daily grind of life.

Big-picture thinking helps you to chart the uncharted territory

Have you ever heard the phrase, “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” That phrase probably originated by someone who was not a big-picture thinker. The world was built b people who crossed bridges in their minds long before anyone else understood there was a bridge that need to be crossed.


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