Managing Macro: Staying mindful of the big picture


Last week, I wrote here about “managing micro”. This is different than micromanaging, with its negative connotations, and is necessary for organizational success.

Someone has to manage macrobig picture

I don’t want to move on without taking an opportunity to insist that it is also required for someone to be “managing macro”.

  • Someone has to be looking at the organization from the thirty thousand foot view.
  • Someone should be looking ahead to where future¬†energies will need to go.
  • Someone should be anticipating where potential obstacles may arise.
  • Someone must be looking at the pieces of the organization in the context of the whole.

Who’s looking at the big picture?

There is a classic leader-manager joke:

“What’s the difference between a leader and a manager? A manager makes sure you’re climbing the ladder but a leader makes sure the ladder is on the right wall.”

This joke and others like it undervalue the role of managers. They do provide a good contrast though, for what I am referring to here as the managing macro role.

Usually, the point person or driver for an initiative will be the person managing the higher level pieces. If that’s you, don’t get stuck in the details on your to-do list. Don’t forget to check yourself regularly against your larger purpose and goals.

Someone has to do both

Managing the details and maintaining the big picture are both necessary. Don’t neglect them and don’t let yourself get frozen in one or the other. You may fail to achieve your overall objectives.

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