Think Of The Forests – Not Trees

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Putting together a strategy places some real demands on a leader’s ability to think in the wildest sense. Some are great at the immediate issues – the ‘here’ and ‘now’ stuff. But they struggle to think about how things interconnect. Organizations are complicated. And the ability of a leader to appreciate and respond to this complexity is essential.

Ideally in an organization, the leader should be able to see the system in its entirety and be aware that an adjustment in one part of the system may have a significant effect on something else. Some people just can’t do this. They focus their energies on one small area of the strategy, without seeing how it interacts with other areas. As the saying goes, ‘They can’t see the wood for the trees’.

As Peter Senge says, “We learn best from our experience but we never directly  experience the consequences of many of our most important decisions”. Haven’t you known people who had an eye catching short term solution to something, which eventually proved costly?

Leaders must see and consider the whole strategy. Concentrate on the interfaces and boundaries of components. Be sensitive to their connections and influence on each other.

Always therefore look at the big picture. Think of the forests, not the trees…….

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