The Incomplete Picture

The Myth of the "Big Picture"

November 7, 2019 | By Risktal Thought Leadership

“The Tone At The Top” … How many times have you heard this statement bounced around? By:

  • The Director of HR who is trying to justify his/her organization’s poor culture;
  • The CFO who is trying to justify his/her failure to effectively control the business and financial risks in an organization;
  • The CEO who is trying to justify his/her failure at his/her job!
  • The Consultant who is advising the top to lead by example and prioritize the organization’s goals as opposed to their own!

In this region, these excuses are almost a fixture in organizations, due to many reasons; some of which:

  • The level of disconnect between the Boards and Executive Management;
  • The disengagement of Boards and Executives from the business dynamics and risk profile;
  • The absence of merit-based approach to appoint Board Members;
  • Group think at the Board Room; where Board Members don’t see eye to eye;
  • Focus on the “big picture”!

The expectations are always to summarize everything to the stakeholders; whether they are Executives or Board!

Let’s just recollect the 448 page– ┬áSpecial Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report of the investigation into the Russian interference in 2016 US elections; which was publicly released in its redacted version on April 18, 2019 after two years of investigations. Before the release of this report, a 4-page summary was issued by the Attorney General on March 24, 2019, which was only successful at receiving backlash from the whole world for failure to reflect the fact stated in the report!

Let’s just rationalize this… 4 pages are 0.9% of 448…. if 0.9% of a report can deliver the same value of the full report; then it is a fluff report! but the reality is; the summary is not sufficient to convey the value of the full report.

Back to our stakeholders! Their focus on the “Big Picture” is the reason why organizations are failing; their lack of interest in details is what leads for the hemorrhaging of organizations’ resources.. In times like these it is difficult to secure business or grow it; so it makes absolutely no business sense that after hard earning new business to let it leak out of a dysfunctional organization.

It is disheartening to see how contagious this “Big Picture” syndrome is! Board members focus on Big Picture, then move to CEO they want to focus on strategic matters, talk to the CFO, he/she is too high up to get involved in the details and this dysfunctional hierarchy continues until it reaches the most junior person in the team who almost always is the scapegoat in this dysfunctional chain!

What is the solution you may ask?

A meritocratic approach to appointing Board members and Executive Management needs to be followed. The focus should be the goals of the organization not their own personal benefit and all efforts of the organizational resources are channels to achieve these goals.

Also … Details Matter … not just at the bottom of an organization’s chain of command! Food for thought!