Monday, August 3, 2009

Jigsaw and The Big Picture

Have you ever seen a kid assemble a jigsaw puzzle?

My wife tried to compete with our 5-year old nephew in a race to see who completes the jigsaw puzzle first. He was given a new set and a tough one at that. I think they were characters from Power Rangers. He completed it in less than 2 minutes and won. He further rubbed salt to the wounds by finishing two more puzzles before my wife could complete even one.

My wife was trying to assemble it piece-by-piece and missed the big picture (or image) altogether. Our nephew, on the other hand, kept visualizing the big picture and moved the pieces intuitively. That is why he won. This is true of most kids.

However, when we grow up we somehow seem to lose this power altogether. Probably it is pushed to somewhere deep within the recess of our minds. We become conditioned to being too process driven. The big picture always remains elusive.

Great leaders and great managers, like kids, do not lose sight of the big picture. They make moves that would befuddle most people. I had the pleasure of working for such people and also clients in the distant past. They have also got the well deserved success.

There is an unfair accusation at them in that they do not look into the details. This is bullshit and is more a case of sour grapes. The fact is that they do not let details bog them down.

This is in direct contrast to what is happening today in most companies and agencies. We agonize over details (jerking off is more like it) so much that when the time comes for implementation nobody has a clue what we were supposed to do in the first place. The big picture "are we giving the consumer a good and well differentiated product" is missed altogether. Over analysis, uninspiring research and complex strategies are all symptoms of this disease. I am not the only one but a lot of my friends who work for reputed companies and agencies feel this way.

My only wish is that this innate gift of big picture visualization that children possess is somehow nurtured. The future belongs to them.

(Image courtesy:miss_blackbutterfly)