I am almost cheating this week, as I don’t intend to correct the semantic use of the expression, rather the application of it in the workplace.
As we all know, to see the big picture in business means to see all the connected dots and to understand actions and reactions that drive, grow and change a business.
The problem is that managers too often encourage their teams to “see the big picture” while obstructing them from doing so.
Employees are often tracked and measured based on tasks: number of calls for sales people, time to respond to tickets for support people, clicks and hits for digital marketing, deadlines and to-do completions for middle office roles, etc. This is the opposite of Big Picture work. It is small, specific and tactical work.
Yes, it all needs to be done, but you will get more out of your best employees if you also allow them to see beyond their own silos and understand how they impact the strategic intent of the company as a whole.
Give your team members the company road map and allow them to see, examine and understand the actual Big Picture. Encourage them to collaborate across departments, to learn from their peers and appreciate how their work impacts the other functions.
Then you will have a team that can truly see and add to the Big Picture.