Insights

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Seeing the bigger picture

 

How to elevate your perspective and move beyond operational detail to explore high-level issues.

 

Strategic thinking is a key capability for the C-suite, but among their team members who produce the draft board reports a more tactical mindset commonly prevails. Presenting information that resonates with directors involves stepping back from the day-to-day detail and putting the high-level issues front and centre.

 

Non-executive directors’ distance from operations effectively positions them to focus on the bigger picture. However, they rely on management to bridge the gap, highlighting what matters and putting information in its wider context. When that doesn’t happen, the line between the board and management can become blurred. It can erode performance and damage relationships.

 

73% of directors say their board’s main focus is strategy and growth

27% say risk and compliance comes first

 

Elevating your perspective

Adopting a more strategic mindset does more than benefit your organisation’s board reporting. Being strategic supports good decision-making, helps navigate change, and brings people together.

 

Three steps encourage a more strategic approach:

1. Ask the right questions

2. Make connections

3. Look for what’s missing.

 

Putting them into action can help you and your team develop new perspectives that maximise your impact.

 

1. Ask the right questions

 

Pause and ask yourself two things:

• Why are we doing this?

• Why does this matter?

 

It’s a small but powerful prompt to put actions into a wider context by identifying their purpose and value. The answers guide what we do next. For example, whether action is driven by safety, customer service, or standard process affect how much time we spend, how fast we need to act, and who else we involve.

 

Asking why challenges our underlying assumptions and leads to better ways of working. This can include conscious decisions to stop doing things that, after consideration, don’t produce a net benefit.

 

2. Make connections

 

Connect information

 

Synthesising multiple sources of information is essential to tackle uncertainty and complexity. It builds a strong foundation for decision-making by uncovering trends, issues and implications that emerge across the organisation. The ability to convert analysis into insight sets strategic thinkers apart. It’s increasingly important to make sense of high volumes of information, helping leaders move nimbly and avoid being bogged down by over-analysis.

 

Connect people

 

Bringing diverse people together expands the range of perspectives and possible solutions. It strengthens discussions and contributes to better decision-making. While that’s central to the board’s role, it’s equally essential at management level as part of building the organisation’s culture. Engaging widely and sharing information openly supports trust and creates empowerment. Seeking opportunities to develop relationships and make introductions breaks down silos, fostering collaboration and improving agility.

 

3. Look for what’s missing

 

It’s a familiar situation: management presents a well-considered, comprehensive report to the board, and is met with a question from left field about something they didn’t anticipate. In a rapidly changing environment with myriad options, checking our blind spots is an important skill. Faced with overwhelming amounts of incomplete information, it can be easy to overlook what isn’t there or focus on what reinforces our existing beliefs. Considering different perspectives, including other internal functions, the board, customers and the community, can help identify potential gaps.

 

Diligent helps you join the dots

Connecting leaders with each other and the information they need to make better decisions and lead with purpose is at the heart of what we do at Diligent.

 

Our integrated cloud-based solutions enable organisations to enhance their governance framework and streamline their processes so that directors, executives and governance professionals can concentrate on the key issues.

 

Diligent is here to help you thrive.

If you liked this article, you may also like our whitepaper: Joining the Dots - The Big Picture for 2022

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