“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
You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.