SkillsTalk

The struggles of a big picture thinker

By Fi Darby | 15 April 2020


The type of thinking we do can have a significant impact on our business success. It can also change as we gain experience and make different career choices.  One way of looking at thinking is to split people up into big picture and detail-oriented thinkers. Different types of jobs require different approaches but organisations need both to function at full capacity

Am I a big picture thinker?

It’s likely that your career will require you to pay attention to both the details and the bigger scenario. However, you’ll probably find that you have natural tendencies towards one or the other. Understanding your regular thinking strategies and career strengths can save some frustration so here are a few clues to look out for if you think you’re a big picture thinker.
  • You feel yourself becoming impatient when you’re asked to perform detailed tasks such as form filling
  • You don’t enjoy explaining the same thing several times
  • Your head is always buzzing with new ideas 
  • Optimism is your default reaction to issues
  • You often try to fit too much into your schedule
  • You fret about the outcomes of a task before you’ve even started it

What are the advantages of being a big picture thinker?

big ideas concept

Business success relies on big picture and detail-oriented thinking working together. People who have visions often lead the way but it is rare for a vision to be fulfilled without someone keeping a careful eye on the details. Being able to grasp concepts can be a real advantage when it comes to seeing the way forward but there are other advantages to being a big picture thinker:
  • The ability to be a visionary can often lead you to the top of the management tree
  • Focusing on big ideas can give your creativity more room to flow
  • A visionary approach can help you make more innovative career choices
Taking these advantages forward, it’s easy to see how recognising and improving your big picture thinking tendencies could lead to an exciting career. For example, if you’re currently working in an administration role but can see how organisations and methods could be improved, why not undertake a nationally-recognised qualification in business. 

Upskilled’s BSB50215 - Diploma of Business includes training on larger-project management, managing workforce planning and implementing improvement - all skills that really play to the strengths of a big picture thinker.

What are the struggles of being a big picture thinker?

It’s funny how the word ‘idealistic’ can be both a complement and a criticism. If you’re a big picture thinker, you’ll probably already understand some of the difficulties of this approach. You’re likely to have experienced frustration when other people resist your ideas. However, all problems can be overcome with the right approach. We take a look at some of the struggles of being a big picture thinker and a few strategies to help:

Other people think your ideas are unrealistic.

This is a common issue for big picture thinkers and it’s important to remember we don’t all approach solutions in the same way. One way to help you get people on board with your ideas is to make sure you do understand at least a few of the details. 

For example, if you’re not up to date with modern marketing strategies, how about enrolling in a nationally recognised online course? Upskilled’s 10118NAT - Diploma of Social Media Marketing is designed to be completed in 12-months and can appeal to your wide-vision approach, as well as help you understand a few details.

The way you work is likely to cause disruption.

When you take a visionary approach to work, you often have strong ideas about efficiency and productivity. This can lead to the development of new processes and new job roles for your colleagues. Not everyone however enjoys change so it is important to understand how to handle this in order to get people onside and working with you. Strategic managers are inspirational leaders who can help a team to work more effectively. 

Although experience is important, learning the specific skills of a strategic manager can be speeded up through training. Nationally recognised courses such as Upskilled’s BSB80215 - Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership include units on cultivating collaborative partnerships, leading strategic planning and influencing change. All key skills that will help you move forward with your team and minimise any negative effects of disruption.

You’ll sometimes find yourself biting off more than you can chew.

If you have a tendency for big ideas and exciting projects, then chances are you’ll find yourself with too many of them. Since they can see so much that needs improving, big picture thinkers have a tendency to take on too much work. Working long hours to get everything done might be beneficial in the short term but over time it can be counterproductive and lead to you making mistakes. 

Experienced project managers know how to present their vision and delegate tasks effectively, leaving themselves freer to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Upskilled’s BSB51415 - Diploma of Project Management can help you recognise the scope and requirements of a large project, as well as manage its human resources.

What jobs are there for big picture thinkers?

content writing concept

Whether you’re feeling restricted with your current role or want to take on a job that allows you to expand your thinking, there are plenty of career options out there for big picture thinkers. All organisations need someone to take an overview and initiate strategic change. You might not even need to swap industries to experience this. Below are just a few ideas of the types of job roles you might want to take on to expand your big picture thinking.
 
Of course, the great thing about being a big picture thinker is that you’re good at thinking way beyond the box. If staying in your current industry doesn’t suit you, consider retraining and taking on something completely new. Nationally recognised online courses often take less time than you think and are flexible enough to fit in with your current commitments. We recommend utilising your big picture thinking in your own career and see where your vision takes you.
 
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