Monday, September 11, 2017

Do We Really See the Big Picture?



I was recently talking to a friend about the projects we are working on. While I was sitting down to talk, he had just getting off the phone where he was helping the person on the other end of the phone to understand what the priorities are.  He made it clear this was not a personal issue, but a business issue.  I commented on how well he handled the situation and the way he remained calm.  He explained that the person was very busy and just needed to be reminded of the priorities and the related timelines.  I responded that sometimes, depending where we are in the company and our positions, some people do not always see the big picture.  I remembered earlier in my career that I was not very clear on some of the tasks because my point of view was too limited and my managers did not always explain how what I was doing fit into the bigger picture.   It made me wonder if this is only a work thing...

Sometimes, I know there are things that I need to do around the home (all you need to do is look at the piles in my basement waiting for homes).  We all have little projects that need to be addressed, but are left undone.  While these little things are “things” that need to be finished, they manage to be put on hold.  Are they a priority?  Maybe.  Do they fit into the bigger picture of what we are striving towards on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis?  Probably not and are sometimes felt as a distraction – we ignore these chores almost like a planned procrastination.

The other night, I had a dream, which highlighted the fact that sometimes we are so “into the weeds” that we do not step back and take a broader view.  I was sitting in one of my girl’s classes, which was taking place outside on wrought iron patio furniture.  Even though I have written down and remember some of the details of the class; in general, the dream dealt with the students handing their work individually to the teacher who would then discuss and provide feedback.  Some of the comments / feedback were flat.  The best comments were reserved for where the student understood the cause and effect of some action they took, and, they were not judgmental about the action taken.  Cause and effect – the students understood why the action was taken, the immediate impact and the future effect.  They were able to grasp the bigger picture.

I remember before Gab and Bec went off to college, I reminded them of the bigger picture – the “why” they were going to college.  I then told them of my college experience.  I went off to the school of my choice and was excited to enter this exciting part of my life.  I was off to become an Accountant!  I found that once I was at school and out from under the protective bubble created by my parents, that there was a whole new world to experience – some of it positive and some of it less positive.  Being young, wide-eyed and curious, off I went to try new things.  Oh, boy, was I having fun…having seen Animal House a few years prior to going to college, I had in my mind what was waiting for me out there.  You see, the thing was, as much fun as I was having, was as much of a distraction from the reason why I was going to school. 

And now, I am a mature (OK, I can hear some of the giggles) adult, husband, father of two, part of a family and part of the larger community.  To be where I am currently in my life, I did have to have a view of what I wanted, at some prior point in my life, and where I needed to head.  Yes, there are always digressions and distractions, but stepping back always helps to refocus the course.  For the person that my friend was talking to, the gentle reminder he provided was the view of the bigger picture – he merely readjusted the rudder.  Sometimes, we all need that gentle nudge.