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3 tricks to develop big picture thinking

Successful entrepreneurs are up to 48% more likely to think 'big picture' than the rest of us. If you're constantly bogged down in detail, here's how to shift your thinking. 

by Lakshmi Singh
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“Take a step back”, “Look at the big picture”, “Think about it in the grand scheme of things". These snippets of advice tend to go in one ear and out the other if you’re naturally a detail-oriented person. Often, they can feel like a waste of time - why invest in all that fluffy thinking when there’s just so much to actually get done

But what if we told you that scientific research has revealed that “big picture thinking” is linked to venture success for entrepreneurs? That those entrepreneurs are 30-48% more likely to think in broad terms than the rest of us? 

It’s not too late to train your brain to think BIG if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Here’s a handy three-step plan to help you see the wood for the trees:

1. Identify some of those big-picture-squishing habits - and squish them, instead.

Our natural preferences often prevent us from blue sky thinking so, the first step: break bad habits. 

  • Stop seeking perfection: F4S research correlates attention to detail in early stage ventures with failure. If you’re constantly fiddling with things to make them better, delving into more and more detail in the process, you need to press pause, stand back and look for the wider opportunities. 
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff: If you spend sleepless nights worrying about insignificant problems in your business, like where the new plant pot will sit in the office, you need to take a deep breath and, in the words of your favorite Disney Princess: Let it go. While some problem-solving is needed in early stage venture, our research shows that a higher focus on goal orientation, working towards a vision or goal (the BIG picture!) is more likely to lead to business success. 
  • Learn to delegate: If your business is full-on and there is limited time and reserves, you may feel that it’s faster and better to action things yourself, rather than work as a team. Unless you’re a sole founder, our research shows that those who share responsibility and work collaboratively are not only more likely to achieve venture success, it frees more time for you to stand back and think strategically. Bonus! 

Overcome these three things and use your time to identify new opportunities for your business, instead.

2. Apply some structure to your thinking.

You wouldn’t just jump headfirst into a project without some planning, so try approaching your big picture thinking the same way you would scope out any major initiative. Set aside some time where you won't be interrupted. Ask yourself: What am I trying to achieve?

Big picture thinking is critical to success, but it needs to feel achievable.

Visualize what it will look like and feel like when you’ve achieved the biggest, hairiest version of your goal. Then, break it down into actionable first steps and keep zooming out to your big picture vision to ensure you stay on track.

3. Seek outside help.

If you know you’re always going to struggle with big-picture thinking, it’s not the end of your business. Ask your co-founder, a mentor or board member to work with you.  (You can even benchmark yourself against their skills and see how your natural inclination to step back and think more broadly improves over time.)

Finally, there’s only one way to make big picture thinking happen: practice. It may not come naturally, but the good news is that with awareness and time, you can train your mind to see the wood for the trees.

 

Keen to see just how high you unconsciously rank on big picture thinking compared to successful entrepreneurs and business builders? Join F4S today and get your results immediately. 

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