The importance of seeing the big picture in business

Brought to you by the Villanova School of Business


Countless daily tasks go into keeping a company running at its peak and moving toward its goals. When you realize how the projects and initiatives you work on all add up to something greater, you can seize opportunities to help the organization and progress your own career.


Earning an MBA online teaches students the principles and analytical skills they need to understand how every element of the business contributes to its overall performance. By considering the long-term rewards and consequences of your decisions, you’ll develop smarter, more agile strategies and optimize along the way. Keeping the big picture in mind at all times is the key to engaging current challenges, planning for emerging needs in the marketplace and advancing toward your goals.


Spot opportunities


Looking beyond immediate problems and setting the conditions for greater achievement starts with maintaining a constant awareness of your chances to make a difference. As a leader, you must align your efforts with the goals of the business, finding meaningful, measurable ways to make the organization’s mission a reality. Every big accomplishment starts with a fresh idea for how to solve a problem.


Begin by generating ideas that could bring meaningful rewards for the company, such as increased profitability, efficiency or sustainability. Draw on your expertise and set specific goals that will put your skills to work on the major issues confronting the company or industry. When you have a deep familiarity with the processes involved, you can find room for improving and streamlining how business functions. Look for smart, cost-effective means of drawing on the resources you have to accomplish more.


Once you have a strategy in mind, then it’s time to narrow your focus and determine what steps are possible in the immediate future. Draw up a timeline for the next year, clearly laying out how you hope to move forward. From there, you can develop a formal proposal or presentation to demonstrate the value of the ideas you’re putting forward, connecting the short-term actions with long-term outcomes.


Plan for sustained growth


After you work out your immediate requirements, consider how your ideas will unfold over the next several years. Many businesses have established themselves based on one great idea. However, expanding on that innovation and maintaining profitability takes a thoughtful, forward-looking strategy.


As you work out your ideas, ask questions like:

  • Will the changes you’ve proposed offer a permanent solution to the business problems you’re facing today?
  • Will it be necessary to bring in additional resources to continue meeting those challenges as conditions shift in the future?
  • What funding, personnel and technology will it take to reach your goals and continue growing the business?

Planning for the future on a broader scale also involves advancing in your career. Consider how the mission of the business meets with your personal goals for taking on new responsibilities. With the right strategy, you can push your own interests forward while enhancing the way your team and company operate as a whole.


Know the data


Wise business decisions are based on extensive, relevant, quantitative information. Your approach to solving problems is more likely to be effective and convincing to decision-makers with numerical evidence to support it. Engage in a deep level of analysis on all aspects of the business and use those insights to drive planning for the years ahead, revealing the implications of each move for the bottom line.


Understanding what concepts capture the interest of customers and determining the best timing for launching a new initiative can make the difference in whether your strategy reaches its potential. Discover what indicators tell you most about the performance of your ideas. With this information, you can focus your efforts, measure the impact your initiatives produce over time and make adjustments as necessary.


Concentrate on relationships


When you’re working on a large scale, the actions you take cause ripple effects across the business, and you must factor in how your methods will fit into the company culture. An effort to expand the organization or improve its functioning may have significant influence on stakeholders from the executive level down through the labor force. It’s vital to keep these relationships in mind as you develop your strategy and put it into action.


Close collaboration within and across teams refines your approach and ensures you make the best possible use of the available resources. By consulting with the individuals who will be tasked with putting an idea into action, you can determine the most promising roadmap. They may offer suggestions for reaching greater efficiency or catch errors you overlooked.


Put your soft skills into action


A robust knowledge of business principles and the marketplace allows you to set a course for advancing the company’s interests. However, you need another set of abilities to help others see the larger significance of your strategy and participate in advancing your proposals. Part of thinking big is realizing the indispensable role soft skills will play in your success as a leader.


When the time comes to convince others to follow your lead, it takes skill to share your vision, explain its relevance and make progress toward your goals. Strong communication is essential to capturing your perspective and involving others in executing it. By expressing yourself compellingly in writing and speech, you turn your long-term planning into leadership. A persuasive presentation or proposal conveys the wide-ranging implications of a shift in how the business operates and piques others’ interest in supporting your plans.


Once that strategy goes into action, it becomes essential to know how to work with a team and keep a project on track. A leader who is paying attention to the wider consequences of each phase catches problems before they become serious and resolves any conflicts that may occur. By keeping an eye on the long-term goals, you can help others work through their immediate problems and be more productive.


At the same time, bear in mind that change is the only constant in business. Being able to perceive how everyday difficulties affect the greater strategy and compensate accordingly will keep the team moving. Staying flexible and preparing to adapt to changing priorities, unexpected setbacks or new directives from decision-makers prevents an initiative from getting bogged down in short-term issues.


Seek an education in big-picture thinking


When it’s time to step up to a leadership role, you need a wide view on how your business functions and what is happening in your industry. Top executives are interested in working with people who exhibit the ability to think ahead, follow through with a strategy and bring others along with them.


An advanced business education puts you in touch with the latest thinking from experts in the field on progressing an organization and coordinating employees. The Villanova University Online MBA program teaches you to keep a business operating at its best in today’s market, the skills for leading with foresight, and the technology that grants you a broad perspective on business challenges. With a powerful base of knowledge and experience, you’re ready to take the long view in engaging with business problems, finding answers that open up new possibilities for your organization and your career.


Completing a Villanova University MBA will equip you with the knowledge base you need to face problems in business proactively, working toward innovative and transformative solutions. Concentrations are available in a wide range of fields—including finance, marketing, analytics and strategic marketing—so you can tailor your education to your own interests and goals. Visit the program page to learn more and find out how to apply.


Recommended Readings:


From the classroom to the C-suite: Five ways an MBA can prepare you for an executive role


Four ways an MBA can help you start up your own business


Tips for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders


Sources:


https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230945


https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2016/11/03/how-data-complexity-is-changing-the-face-of-business-analytics/#a6d70e61df56


http://smallbusiness.chron.com/shortterm-mediumterm-longterm-planning-business-60193.html


http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/30/business/beyond-goals-career/


https://www.fastcompany.com/3036143/5-strategies-for-big-picture-thinking


http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/three-keys-to-building-a-data-driven-strategy


http://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-importance-of-understanding-the-businesss-big-picture/


https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/six-soft-skills-everyone-needs-hot-jobs


https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/how-to-find-and-recognize-good-business-opportunities.html


https://hbr.org/2014/03/the-seven-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-c-suite