“Your big picture will never be a masterpiece if you ignore the tiny brushstrokes.”— Andy Andrews

Details, Details, Why Do They Always Want Details?

I recently lead a three-day workshop where the key purpose was to define a new direction for a large organization. By the end of day 2, everyone agreed that a pivot point for the organization was being achieved. The participants were excited about the new direction in which they were heading.

The energy level was high, yet there was something missing.

When we went around the room at the close of the second day we asked two key questions. What was an example “aha moment” of your day? And what is a major wish for what we achieve on the final day?

The aha moments were quite diverse. The wish for the day was common across the majority of people. That wish is summed up with one person’s comment, “Alan, the big picture is great, but we need more details. How do we actually go in this new direction?”

This question is a common one in this type of workshop. These workshops are designed to get everyone engaged and excited about defining their aspirational desired state. By its nature, a vision doesn’t contain the details of what most people really need to move forward. I have attended similar workshops where people leave excited, but on Monday they find they are back in the same job and not clear how to change things to match the new vision.

In contrast, I design this type of workshop to ensure that people walk out with a detailed plan and examples of what they need to do differently. I lead workshop participants through the design and plan of those details. I can and do help with providing some concrete examples. However, it is the participants of these workshops themselves who must execute the new direction. The real details must come from them.

The better they can envision the headwinds they will face in making the changes happen, the abler they will be to adjusting on the spot and keep making headway to the horizon of their choosing.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett
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