Do you see the big picture?


big_pictureDo you ever look at the company you work for? Do you know what it does? Do you know the competition? Are you working for the best company in your line of business? Are you a challenger? Are you losing ground? What is your role in all of this? Are you doing a better job than the people doing the same job for the competition? Do you think you matter in the overall results for the company? Or do you just appear to do your job?

Once there where a CEO that got hundreds of application for a position at his company, he took 50 % of all applications, and to the secretary’s surprise he threw them in the garbage. A bit puzzled she asked why. “You need luck to work for my company, now let’s find someone qualified among the lucky ones.

I do not believe that it is all luck why one company beat competition or unlucky why one company crumbles. I do not believe that one good manager can succeed if she has twenty useless employees, I do not believe that twenty great employees will succeed if they have one useless boss. But I do believe that the latter is most important. Twenty great employees run a bigger chance of succeeding never minding the manager’s qualities.

And so, my fellow Co-workers: ask not what your company can do for you – ask what you can do for your company” – A little rewriting of JFK.

This brings me to some employee engagement. Remember you are not hired so that you should be able to live a nice life. You are not hired so that you should need to drag your tired body to a place that you hate to go to. You are not hired so you could fit into the norms and demands of society that kind of imply that you should have a steady job. You are hired because the company thinks that you can add value.

You are hired to do more for less.
You are hired to make money for the company
You are hired to save money for the company

All other tasks is somehow related to these statements, and you are hired to do this more efficient or better that the ones that is being hired at the competing company.

You are being paid to deliver your best, or at least to have an interest in delivering the best. I believe that every single employee of a company can secure their jobs by devoting themselves to make more money for the company or to save more money for the company. It sounds harsh, but it is the back bone in the company skeleton. Having fun at work is a tool to making more money. Keeping employees happy and engaged is another tool. If you are unhappy or hate your job, you should consider leaving your job, as you fail to make money for the company, you do less for more and you are not doing a great job. And you might be missing out on your own dream job, and holding a spot occupied for someone else looking for their dream job.

As an employee you must try to create:

  • an environment where you thrive.
  • a place where you care about your fellow co-workers.
  • a place where you try to evolve and do better, while having fun.
  • a place to reach an exceed your goals.

The CEO is busy trying to create money for the company, more money than the… yes, correct… more money than the competition. The leaders of the company shall make sure that you are able to create this place that you would call Home 2.0. Having fun should be work related. Create a fun way to reach goals, not just by goofing of playing Playstation 3 all day long. At work we have changed a “dreadful” task into a fun game and within weeks we have increased the results with 60-70 % in the slow holiday period.

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5 Comments on "Do you see the big picture?"

  1. Frode Heimen | August 10, 2009 at 7:37 pm |

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Seeing the big picture is very important. And still a lot of managers tell staff to do their job, because they “have to”. Start explaining with “why it is important” and get results. Why is many managers still just commanding people around? Is it because they see the big picture themselves and asume that others do as well? A lot of manager do lead by asuming that they know what the employees need. Start by knowing. 🙂

    Keep reading Phil! 🙂 Because I appreciate it

  2. Hi Frode,

    Your post puts me in mind of a Drucker quote:

    “What is the first duty – and the continuing responsibility – of the business manager? To strive for the best possible economic results from the resources currently employed or available.”

    Of course you, and each of the commenters above, are right that seeing the bigger picture is critical to organizational success. And helping our people to do that is arguably one sign of great leadership.

  3. Frode Heimen | August 6, 2009 at 8:34 pm |

    Hi Kyle and Gina!
    First of all thank you both for being a steady reader of my blog, and thank you both for commenting, creating more value to my blog’s readers. I really do appreciate it.

    Kyle: All leaders should read your comment and understand that employees need to be thought why! Not only how! But also why, and when I think about it, why is almost more important than how? Great comment!

    Gina: I ask all employees about their happiness at work. I want them to try to answer between 1 and 10, where 10 is the happiest employee. If someone answers 4 or less, I will ask them, when will you quit? Because unless you don’t make an effort in being happier at this place there is now way that I can help you. I can help 5 until 9 to become 10 or eleven. But helping 4 or less is almost impossible. I have once made a transform from 1 to 9… so it is possible. But he committed to himself.

    Keep reading and comment, very much appreciated. 🙂

  4. Hi Frode,

    First – great comment Kyle – I especially liked your comment about cleaning the restrooms – I agree that when an employee can make the connection (as you stated in your comment) – that is a satisfied employee committed to the organization. This is definitely not an employee who says “not my job” but rather takes on whatever he/she needs to in order to ensure the company’s success. This is a team player!

    Frode, I liked this post!

    I also agree that the company needs to ensure that the employee does understand the big picture and where they fit in it. That guidance is needed from the top on down. Every employee – I don’t care what their role is – is vital to the organization and that needs to be conveyed to the individual.

    I also agree that if you cannot go to work in support of the company and furthering the goals/objectives of the company – it is time to move on to a company where you can.

    Thanks for a great post!


  5. Howdy Frode,

    I really like the focus here on what the employee can do to help improve the company (and thus improve their own situation).

    Secondly, helping the employee see the big picture is incredibly important in my opinion. It is one of the best ways to get someone to do something that he or she doesn’t want to.

    Example. A shift supervisor tells an employee to go clean the restrooms of a busy restaurant. Well, if that employee is like most people, he or she probably doesn’t go to work every day singing “I LOVE cleaning restrooms!”

    However, a good employee will still do it, do a good job, and do it with minimal amounts of griping. However, if the employee realizes that he or she is not cleaning the restroom “just because” they were told to, but instead because clean restrooms = a better customer experience = more repeat customers + more word of mouth marketing = more money for the restaurant = a more secure job for them, then I bet that employee might be a little more satisfied with such a mundane task.


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