Big-Picture People


During my working career, most of the time I worked with people similar to myself: left-brain dominant, detail-oriented technicians, aka "nerds". Most of us took pride in being nerdy.

Every now and again, I came across someone different: a "big picture" guy. You probably know the type - they usually are in management, arrogant as hell in many cases, claiming to be focused on the important stuff, with no time for insignificant matters such as the details that nerds wallow in. Numbers people they are NOT.

Well, here are a few home truths about Mr Big Picture. One: rather than not having the time for details, he is usually INCAPABLE of dealing with the nitty-grittys. Second: many of these folks do NOT have a good grasp of the "big picture".

One other reality to make note of: many nerds have an excellent grasp of how their area of expertise fits within the grand scheme of things.

About 50 years ago, a certain management theorist propounded the so-called "Peter" principle, which is the notion that in most organizations, for example, corporations and governments, people are promoted up to the level where they are incompetent. It was intended as a joke but there is much truth in it. What may be even more true is the Dilbert principle, which states that companies systematically promote incompetent staff members into management, to get them out of the workflow.

Now we can square the circle. The big picture guys are those who, not competent to accomplish anything useful, are promoted out of the way to make way for the real worker bees. It's a topsy-turvy world.

Date Recorded: 
Friday, June 12, 2020
Date Posted: 
Friday, June 12, 2020
Type of GEM: 
GEM of the Day: 
Monday, April 1, 2024
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