The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Do you think your employees know what the big picture is for your company or your unit? Do you think they should? If they don’t, what are the possibilities if they did?

I once heard an anecdote of a restaurant company who was trying to increase sales by 8% over a 3-year period. Everyone of the board thought this would be a huge challenge, but they approved the sales budget and shared the goal with every employee in the company from managers down to the bus boys. They ended up exceeding their target many times over within that 3-year span mainly because everyone was informed and working for the same cause.

If you’re a manager, you may be given direction from your boss on topics to share with employees. Of course, you’ll dutifully share those. However, rare is a company that I’ve worked for in non-management where the bigger picture was shared with me, much less the bottom line of my unit or the impact my actions/inactions would have on it.

For some reason, the picture usually becomes clearer as we move up the chain of command, but wouldn’t it be helpful for all employees?

I encourage you to share these big picture motives with your employees. If you share with them some of this information regularly, you will have more people pointed and pulling together in the right direction. Things you could make a topic of conversation are:

  • Company’s vision/mission statement
  • Unit’s profit and loss statement
  • Information on gross margins and expenses and how it affects profitability
  • Annual goals of the unit and company
  • 3 to 5 year plan of the unit and company
  • How various departments work together to support one another and how actions taken can impact the other departments
  • Your vision of the unit’s operations within the next 1, 3, and 5 years
  • Career opportunities that may even go outside of the unit

Do you share bigger picture perspective with your team regularly? What topics do you focus on?

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Author: Joe Croarkin

Husband, father of three, brother of four

5 thoughts on “The Big Picture”

  1. Hi Joe,
    This is great topic. I’m hyper-aware of making sure that anytime I ask anyone to do something that I tell them why it is important and how it fit into the big picture. I don’t know how I got this way, but it has always bugged me when people ask me to do something and don’t explain why. I’ve found that explaining the big picture has allowed my team to make better decisions without my input because they already know what the end goal looks like and the process to get there isn’t as important as getting there.

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    1. Matt, I would love to work for a leader like you. I feel exactly the same way as you. Giving them the big picture enables better decision making (or may enable decision making), and the employee feels much better about how they fit.

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  2. Great post, Joe. I stress the importance of what my employees are doing and how it relates to the big picture all year long. Especially during their annual reviews (thank goodness it’s over). Have you ever encountered an employee that still didn’t care about the importance of their job after you shared the vision of the big picture?
    Erik

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    1. Erik,

      Unfortunately, I have encountered reactions like that. Most of the time, an employee appears to be enlightened, though. In the cases where they do not look like they cared, I would make a decision – is this employee one in the fall/winter of their engagement or do I need to do a better job connecting with them on a personal level. Most of the time, I find it’s a disengaged employee and take appropriate steps. A few times, I’ve been surprised to find out how much the employee cared if I made it a little more personal for them through following-up.

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