“My project managers have to be focused on the individual project, and I have to be focused on the future,” Andrew repeated, looking more intense.
“Is that where it stops?” I asked.
Andrew thought for a moment. “No. When I focus on the future, I see what I see. But, if I imagine further into the future than that, play more what ifs, I get a sense of where the company is going. I sense an even larger context. Maybe I don’t understand it, maybe I cannot talk about it, but I get this sense. It’s my manager’s context. My manager has goals and objectives, decisions and problems that are different than mine. While I have a different level of work from my junior project managers, my manager has a different level of work than me. I may not know what that means, but I know it exists.”
“How important is it to know, to understand your manager’s context, or your CEO’s context?”
“On a daily basis, I am not sure I need to be reminded. Where my decisions and problems are clear, it may not be necessary. But things change. When there is uncertainty or ambiguity, I need to know the bigger picture.”
“You just slipped into an analogy, the bigger picture. What do you specifically mean?” I pressed.
Andrew chuckled, nodded. “The bigger picture might actually be that, a visual picture on the wall of something that does not exist now, but will exist in the future. But, to be more specific, big picture, as a context, would be a future point in time, a longer timespan. When bigger picture can be seen as longer timespan, it becomes measurable, and I know more clearly what I am accountable for and what my manager is accountable for.”
Appreciation for the longer time spans that my Manager or MOR have to consider helps greatly to put my work in context. It assumes that the capacity to appreciate longer time spans is more common than the capacity to manage a longer time span. I think that’s right. Thanks for the thought.