Aim Close: Bringing the Big Picture Down to Size


If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you. – Les Brown

Imagine what the game of bowling would be like if you couldn’t see the pins you were trying to hit. In 1933, Bill Knox did just that — and bowled a perfect game. In Philadelphia’s Olney Alleys, Bill had a screen placed just above the foul line to obscure his view of the lane. His purpose was to demonstrate the technique of spot bowling, which involves throwing the ball at a selected floor mark on the near end of the lane. Like many bowlers, Bill knew that you can do better if you aim at a mark close to you that’s in line with the pins. He proved his point with a perfect 300 game of 12 strikes in a row.

In leadership circles we hear much talk about seeing the big picture and why it is important. And I agree with most all of it. It is imperative to have a visual of where you are going. Without seeing the big picture your vision as a leader is diminished along with your effectiveness. How can you lead others to an unfamiliar place?

Seeing the big picture and attaining big goals is the desire of every effective leader. But if your focus is always on the big picture – the end result, then the very thing you are aiming for can be lost because of a lack of focus on the small things. What’s the answer? Aim close. Here are four ways you can keep the big picture in perspective while not losing sight of where you are going.

Align your goals

Reaching long-range goals is achieved through a series of short-range steps. The big picture makes sense to you from a pragmatic point of view, but it materializes through a process of short-range goals. As a leader it is up to you to aim close for maximum impact. Uppermost in your mind should be whether the achievement of your goals today will take you closer to the big picture tomorrow. Aligning your goals is akin to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Your goals are those small pieces that eventually come together to make a beautiful picture.

Align your people

The key ingredient to your success is your people. Building a team of like-minded people who see the big picture is critical to your success. Who you align yourself with will make all the difference. Not everyone will take the journey with you. Others will take the journey with you who are not yet on your team. But know this: just as your car needs to be properly aligned to run smooth so does your team. If your team is not aligned in its mission, goals, and purpose, then the big picture will always be elusive.

Align your priorities

It’s always wise to keep the big picture in mind. It’s serves as a constant reminder of what it’s all about for you. But the reality of the big picture is realized when you aim close with your priorities. Just like the bowler in the above story, you don’t have to see all the pins to have a strike. You can get there one frame at a time. The key is to aim close to goals you can reach this month, this week, and today. When your priorities are aligned to the big picture it becomes much easier to lead.

Align your values

Every success-minded person I come across has a high set of standards and expectations. They have learned how to weather setbacks, difficulties, and the voices who those who say it can’t be done. They are relentless in their pursuit of their big picture and have the passion to go after it. When your values are aligned with your big picture then decision making is easier. Today’s decision to lead with integrity places you one step closer to goals tomorrow. Aiming close with your values aligned brings clarity to the big picture. Even if everything else is murky, your values will always guide you in the right direction.

Your big picture should inspire and motivate you on your leadership journey. Aim close for maximum impact. Stay the course and you will get there.


© 2015 Doug Dickerson

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About dougdickerson

I am Certified Leadership Trainer, author, columnist, and speaker. Husband to Alicia, father to Katelyn and Kara, and "Pop" to terrific grandson Tyson. I am an avid photographer, love the outdoors, and like to travel. I'm passionate about sharing my leadership insights and helping people reach their full potential.
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2 Responses to Aim Close: Bringing the Big Picture Down to Size

  1. Excellent post Doug!! Great reminders for leaders. LOVE it and sharing!


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