The Importance of Big Picture Thinking

Based on my experience, one of the most common interview questions is "are you detail oriented? There is nothing wrong with being detail oriented, but it can, and often does, interfere with seeing the big picture. Below is an excerpt from my MoreSpace essay that is relevant. Enjoy the teaser.

The Reichstag in Berlin is a beautiful building, and like most structures built before the modern architectural era, it is very ornate. The detailed design of certain areas of the building is part of the reason people are attracted to it. But in 1995 two artists named Christo and Jean-Claude covered the entire Reichstag in fabric, hiding the details and exposing the essence of the structure. It was beautiful. The shape of the building, the larger form, had been ignored by people who were in awe of the decoration. By covering up that decoration, they could see and appreciate the beauty of the whole thing. I think many people in business today need to pull out some fabric and do the same thing.


Personally, I think there aren't enough people who can see past the details. I don't know how to screen applicants for big picture thinking, but I think a company always needs a few people like that around. More pictures of the wrapped Reichstag are here.

Thanks to Todd for pointing me to the site.