Several weeks ago I attended an event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the East Sixties Neighborhood Association at a beautiful venue here in NYC. My guest and I stood out on the terrace and looked out upon the city, quite possibly one of my favorite things to do. As we spoke, I mentioned that I forget this view when I am walking along the streets consumed by the people, the gum on the sidewalk, the construction, and everything you encounter walking along the streets of the city. We chuckled, and this brought up a discussion about the “bigger picture” and how it is not always easy to see it.
Throughout the years I have been told that I need to see the bigger picture or I am too big picture, I believe this is dictated by the circumstances that surround you. You have to think big picture when you are looking to effect change but you can’t become so big picture that you don’t understand the tasks involved, the details or day-to-day. I believe many people become caught up in their own day-to-day that they can no longer switch to the big picture and how the puzzle pieces fit together. I have to remind those that work with me that it does not matter if you get a mask from one department and they get some gloves from you, we are all one and the cost in the end hits the same financial statement. We speak regularly, each month end it seems, how a decision in their area affects the rest of the hotel, at the time I think everyone understands but ultimately they do what they see best for their area rather than entire operation.
I decided to write about this subject as I was walking down Second Avenue, an area that has been under construction for the last seven years for a new Subway line, when I heard two people scoff at a percentage complete sign in the construction office, 98%. They sarcastically asked each other how much longer the two percent would take. Dealing with the walk and vehicle traffic daily changes and the time you are held from crossing, it is natural to become annoyed. Here is where the big picture thinking comes in, with such a massive project, 2% must be an immense amount of work. In a year of seeing the sign I have seen it only move up 5.1 percentage points yet I have seen quite a bit of progress. We become so bogged down with the disturbances to our personal daily commute that we cannot see the incredible project that is taking place, albeit overdue.
I was once told that the hardest thing to do is to not get bogged down in the minutia and keep yourself thinking of the bigger picture, I hold this belief wholeheartedly.