There you are creating the future and someone wants to question you about a detail so minor you wonder if they belong in the same room. This is a common complaint for most Big Picture people. Try as you might to move your organization ahead, initiatives stall as they transition to execution. It is more than just frustrating. It can mean the end of your company if you can’t overcome the inertia.

    Why you need to appreciate the Details

    Notice that you do not have to understand the details. But you do have to appreciate the efforts that big strategies require. If you do not, the folks you need to reach your goals will either cut corners or drop other “run the business” tasks. Both options put your company at risk. The secrets to succeeding lies in the details. Which means you must respect them.

    If you don’t, when you deliver major strategic initiatives to front line managers, they can interpret the work incorrectly. Again, your strategy will stall and you will miss reaching your goals. So if you want to build a company that can achieve its strategic goals, is it important that upper management appreciates the details.

    Ways to appreciate the Details

    Review the plan. After presenting the Big Picture give your staff time to estimate resources and prerequisites to succeed. Ask them to walk through timing and contingencies. When you show attention to the details, they will too.

    Reshuffle Priorities. Well-run companies can achieve their goals. But goals become additive. So review other projects and priorities and be clear about what to delay or remove. Look for pet projects. Many line managers nurture side projects that benefit the company but are not prioritized. Insist on a catalog of all work that absorbs the planned resources. Then clarify priorities.

    Big Picture leaders cause failure unless they reprioritize and eliminate work so resources can focus on the goals.

    Preview the communication plan. Leaders need to understand how their vision translates to line level folks. Do not expect your managers to craft your message to their teams. Insist on reviewing the message. Real leaders are in the room and answer all questions in real time. Your company needs everyone to succeed. Which means that you need the be available for the people who could resist. Ask line level employees about strategic initiatives and how they connect their work to them. Listen to understand if your messages are landing.

    Stay the course. Your company can gestate endless innovation. But unwavering focus brings innovation to market. Beware of the “next shiny object” strategies. Prepare to repeat yourself and your company’s goals until you reach them. Repetition will move false obstacles out of the way. Be present at all milestone events.

    As a Big Picture person, you are made to move quickly from strategy to strategy. But they are pipe dreams unless they are translated to routine work details. What are ways you dive into the details to build strategic success?

    See the companion post: The Big Picture for Detailed People