Think Bigger: Develop a Point of View!

Published on May 11, 2012 by Anne Raymond

Often, I hear from people that they are down in the weeds and don't spend enough time looking at the big picture! Sometimes it's being in a "comfort zone" where it's just easier to put your head down, get the work done, and react to things around you. You may be doing a good job but you're really not getting the most out of your expertise and you're probably not "seizing" big strategic opportunities as they present themselves (let alone MAKING strategic opportunities that are good for you AND your organization!). And on top of all of that, you may not be getting the recognition that you deserve and living up to your capability of doing much much more!

First thing to do is to get to find some time and energy to tackle the big picture! Once you've lightened your load, you then need to carve out "ROCKS" in your schedule to do some big thinking on something that will have strategic impact!

Here are 3 keys to get you going:

1) Pick a Hot Topic (and a BHG – big hairy problem)!

The first step in thinking bigger is to find a hot topic that you want to tackle! Pick something that you are passionate about and that will make a great impact. You may want to start in your own area and pick something meaty that is more strategic than what you are doing now. Or you may want to pick something that is really big that goes across several different groups in the organization.

Once you've decided on a topic area, then what's the BHG or biggest (hairiest) problem to be solved?? At this stage, don't worry about "how" to solve the problem but make sure you've picked a big one so you can properly frame it in the next step!!

2) Brainstorm Your Big Idea!

Now, take your problem that you've defined and turn it into a question. Your brain naturally likes to answer a question which is posed to it. So when you frame the problem as a question, your brain will work at answering it even if you don't think you even know the answer at first (how cool is that??!!).

I suggest using a good old fashioned "pen and paper" to do this exercise and creatively brainstorming some solutions. I like the mindmap tool for brainstorming by taking a blank piece of paper and putting the question in the center in a "bubble" and then drawing lines to other big bubbles (ideas/challenges/steps) and so on.

Then you can take a look at patterns and formulate your Big Idea or your message about this problem. I always like the Big Idea and the 3 main focus areas that will help solve this problem (it's easier to think in "3s" – both communicating and receiving ideas!)

3) Have some Coffee Chats

Now it's time to start "socializing" your idea. Who do you need to get input from and then set up some coffee chats to meet with those people. Consider peers, experts, senior execs, customers, or vendors to get a broad level of input.

"Coffee Chats" are a great informal way to build relationships and understand other Points of View. Two key questions you can ask are "What are your challenges" and "What do you think?" These will start revealing the validity of your Big Idea (your POV), evolve it and get buy-in by understanding other perspectives and the challenges. Along the way, you can look for allies to support your Big Idea.

When you're at the stage when you have to present your Big Idea to a larger audience, you'll be able to have a strong story to tell with many viewpoints and challenges included. Much easy to get buy-in and move forward!

Try out these strategies for thinking bigger and getting a Point of View that can create big impact!