Your role as a leader in business is to guide and encourage your team so everyone arrives at the desired end result safely. Having a clear perspective on where your company is headed but not being blinded by the full scope of the process is part of your business journey.
When thinking about where you want to go, it’s easy to focus on the summit, but even the most experienced mountain climbers realize getting to the top is only half the goal. It’s just as essential to get safely back to basecamp once you’ve hit your goals and reached your summit.
The way you do this is by looking at the bigger picture.
Balance The Details
The day-to-day problems are not unimportant, but with a clear vision of your end result, the bigger picture, if you will, will have an easier time addressing them. So many times, it’s too easy to get stuck in details. Not that details are insignificant, but you need to maintain a view from above all the time to hold true to your vision and focus on long-term goals. If you lose that perspective, you end up managing just short-term goals and will struggle with day-to-day business problems that will eventually overwhelm you.
It requires courage to let go of the details a bit to get a clearer view.
If you dare to take a step back to get a better perspective and see where you are and the road ahead, you will be more comfortable guiding the ones who follow you. One of the essential parts of business success is to share your vision and what you see when getting to the bigger picture. You will also get a better understanding of what it will take to get to the end of the journey, what skills your team will need, how you need to mitigate risks, and how to empower your team. However, if you focus more on the journey than the shared vision, you will also deal with setbacks or failures reaching the targeted outcome.
Have the courage to act from what you see when you have the whole picture before you.
Sometimes it takes courage to take a step back to get a new perspective while keeping your vision and goals at the forefront of your company’s mind. A keen understanding of how things affect each other is required. This can be done by breaking down the view into smaller parts. This creates a more manageable way of navigating the path you’ve planned on.
Understanding this makes it easier to avoid focusing your energies on only part of the problem or making risky decisions based on a limited view. Having the courage to step back to get the bigger picture will help you follow your vision and overall goal.
Communicating this and sharing the view with others isn’t always easy, but if you take the time to do it right, it helps build a strong team working toward the same shared vision. One way to do this is to lead people by inviting them to the conversation to see what you see and encouraging them to share your larger view and infinite mindset.
You will ultimately be the one to make decisions based on the complete picture with your shared vision firmly in mind, but by including your team, you help them to deal with the daily demands that pop up. In addition, your openness will help them have the courage to face the more challenging parts of the plan, not fear them because together, you break things down into smaller, manageable pieces.
Learn From Start-ups
As a jury member of Venture Cup, an incubator for start-ups, I work with many entrepreneurs. For me, it’s about listening to others and understanding their point of view. This helps me look at things from all possible angles and better understand the context of the information and suggestions people share with me. That means painting a picture from what I see and helping them see things from a higher altitude, too, as they develop their business plans.
I tend to be detail-oriented, but seeing the bigger picture helps me focus on the details needed.
When I do this, it’s easier for me to understand that the seemingly isolated occurrences of the day-to-day problems might be part of a more prominent pattern where everything connects and is inter-dependent upon things the original plan might have missed.
Looking at the bigger picture is what I do when I provide mentorship to the Venture Cup start-ups could be helpful for many business leaders. When leaders get a board of trusted people who can guide them by giving insights from a different view, they show they’re not afraid to ask for help.
Mentorship is something that more businesses could work more actively with to help their leaders or employees to make smarter decisions and growing as individuals.
Mentorship can help you be flexible enough to change direction when looking from above if the details start to lead you astray. It can also help empower your employees to learn something new along the way because you show that you, too, are open to receiving input and guidance from others.
Doing this can encourage people to appreciate your company’s journey and make them feel that they are a part of something bigger. In addition, because you’ve modelled continuous learning and improvement yourself, you’re showing them how seriously you take your business and how vital their roles are toward your company achieving its goals.
To build your team and have them hold the same beliefs towards your company’s future is essential. Your primary role is to get all of them there safer and wiser with a shared experience of the journey. Your employees will share your vision when you communicate every step, encouraging and helping them grow; reaching the end goal together is achievable.
And when you bring it all together, balancing the details, inviting others, learning from those who are just entering the business, and asking for help from mentors who have already established themselves as successful leaders, you get a more unobstructed view of the bigger picture. This bigger picture will guide you and your team through the journey that will take your company toward achieving its ultimate goals.
Connecting The Dots
This was the last part of the six principles about leading as a guide, based on what Christopher I. Maxwell writes about in his book, “Lead Like a Guide: How World-Class Mountain Guides Inspire Us to Be Better Leaders“. In my next post, I will connect the dots and write about what leadership means to me today and how it relates to achieving your ultimate goals in an infinite game.
[This post was originally posted on Medium, June 7, 2017]