When it comes to leadership and vision, there are basically two types of people: those with a big picture mindset, and those who focus on the details. Big picture thinkers have grand visions and plans, while detail-oriented individuals naturally focus on getting the “little things” right. Neither one is “right” or “wrong”… in fact, these two approaches need each other to survive.
Business owners tend to be visionaries—big picture thinkers. This is true of many of my clients and the business owners that I’ve worked with, though it’s certainly not true of all of them.
Typically, it is the ability to dream that leads them to go into business for themselves in the first place. But as these visionaries soon learn, their big plans can’t be accomplished without a whole bunch of details falling into place.
Detail-oriented business owners face a different challenge. They have the ability to get things done effectively, to manage the details that go into every project. But they often find that this focus keeps them from growing their business to its full potential.
Which camp do you fall into? And what should you do about it?
Here are a couple of ideas that have been helpful for me and many of my clients over the years:
Find a counterpart. The most obvious answer for a visionary is to find a partner or an employee with an eye for details—and vice versa. Make it a point to look for help that complements your strengths and personality.
Develop the discipline to wear both hats. Just because you tend towards big picture thinking doesn’t mean that you can’t manage details effectively. But you do need to develop the discipline to put in the time.
Pace yourself. Don’t put yourself in position to fail. If details, such as the nitty-gritty of budgeting, drive you crazy… don’t spend all day on them. Handle these tasks in manageable chunks—half an hour here, an hour there (with a plan.)
Find a coach or a mentor. Over the years, I have observed that most business owners aren’t aware of their shortcomings. Visionaries don’t realize that it is their lack of attention to detail that holds them back. Detail-oriented thinkers don’t realize that it is their lack of vision that keeps them from experiencing the success they desire. A coach, mentor, or trusted friend can point out these areas that need improvement.
Building a successful business requires a big vision. But it also requires that countless details are managed properly. Don’t let weakness in either area hold you back!