What matters most? What is most important?
See the forest though the trees is most often used in the negative. The phrase typically starts with can’t. In the negative, a person who can’t see the forest through the trees is overwhelmed by detail to the point where the overall situation is obscured or blurred. One would need to get in a helicopter and rise above the trees to see the whole of the forest.
Defined positively, the phrase means to discern an overall pattern from a mass of detail; to see the big picture, or the broader, more general situation.
In today’s world with information instantly available via the internet, it’s more important than ever to understand the skill of being able to see the forest through the trees.
Information overload is essentially being lost within the forest amongst the trees.
The challenge is people are all different. With varying interests and skill sets.
A person who is detail oriented typically is weaker at seeing the big picture.
A person who is can easily see the big picture is often uninterested and/or sloppy with details.
Both skills sets are important. And complementary. A person who excels in both is a rare combination. Most people are minimally competent in both, but one of these two skills is dominant.
In my own case, I’m capable of diving down into the details – but my willingness to do so is strictly to see the big picture. Once I have an understanding of the general situation, the details are no longer very interesting. In fact, the details tend to bore me. I prefer to spend my future energy working on the broader, overall plan. And leave the details to others.
My challenge is to be willing to take care of small details by myself or manage others to do so in my own business.
The value I bring to others is helping them see the big picture in their business. Helping a CEO or leadership team see what they no longer see because they’re immersed in the details of their business is valuable. Getting them unstuck from the weeds saves time and money. And for me it’s fun! And having fun is priceless.
- Who is helping you go down into the weeds, and then transporting you above the grasses and trees to a place where the forest becomes visible again?
- Who is helping you get back down to earth to see and touch the details of your business that are starving from lack of nourishment? … or suffering from neglect to details?
Businesses need both perspectives from time-to-time. Your job as business owner or CEO is to be smart enough to know what help you need and then go get it.
Businesses thrive and prosper when they know where they’re going (i.e. the forest is visible) and the details are well in hand (i.e. the trees are well tended and healthy).