Leaders Must Always See the Big Picture

And Everyone on Your Team Needs to Hear You Talk About the Big Picture

After I recently guest lectured to MBA students at a local university, one of the students asked me a question about alignment. I explained that one of the most important things for a leader to do is to be able to connect long-term goals to short-term actions. And leaders can do that best when they can share the big picture.

big picture

As a leader, it is imperative that you always remind your team why they are there. Help them to understand the purpose behind your company. Give them a reason to see that the little actions they do every day are important to accomplishing a bigger goal. Help them to see that they are many artists contributing to one masterpiece.

No job is exciting all the time. There are times that every job will have its drudgery. You can either inspire your people to put in their best efforts in even the drudgery, or you can let them trudge on their own just for their paycheck. It’s your choice whether you will help your people see only the little areas they are contributing, or if you will help them see how they are contributing to the big picture.

Here are three ways you can remind your team of the big picture when they are trudging through their daily grind.

How to Give a Real Apology

And it’s not about how you can save face

In today’s culture, you don’t often see people give a real apology. They don’t even acknowledge that they have done anything wrong. They make excuses for their behavior, and they try to skirt around the issue. As a result, they say nothing of any importance, and their relationship with the offended party worsens.

real apology

Today nobody expects anyone to apologize anymore. People want to save face and pretend that they haven’t done anything wrong. Politicians say they are “sorry IF they have offended anyone.” But that doesn’t deal with anything and it doesn’t help their credibility improve.

So what does a real apology look like? Here are three steps to making a real apology and what you can expect to happen as a result.

Integrity Means All the Time

by Benjamin R. Case, President, Case Consulting Services, Inc.

When is it important to have integrity? Some of the time or all of the time? My friend Ben Case, President of Case Consulting Services, has been a hallmark of integrity as long as I have known him. And he tells a powerful story to explain to importance of integrity.


Before I started Transformational Impact LLC, I worked with Ben. He is reputedly one of the best major gift fundraisers in the world, having helped nonprofits raise more than $4.3 billion in his 40 years of fundraising. And he shares his expertise six days a week in the Tip o’ the Morning, a one-minute read covering the basic principles of fundraising (and sometimes life) that we need to know and practice to be successful.

Even though I no longer work with Ben, I still occasionally write a Tip o’ the Morning. And I am pleased to post an occasional Tip from Ben on my blog. Here’s Ben’s Most Valuable Tip (MVT) #44 entitled, “When Are You Going to Have Integrity—Some of the Time or All of the Time? Integrity Means All the Time.

How to Give Bad News

How to Say What Needs to Be Said

When I was a new manager, I had the hardest time giving constructive feedback to my assistant. When it was time to share with her what she needed to know to help her improve, I couldn’t even get the words out. It was so difficult for me to say, that I had to try multiple times just to be able to tell her—because I was too concerned about saying what she might have thought was bad news.

bad news

My early days as a manager showed one extreme of improper communication in giving performance reviews. Other managers think that yelling the hard truth is the best way to give bad news. They think that it’s OK to say whatever they think needs to be said, without thinking about what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of what they said. Clearly both extremes are not helpful.

So how should we give bad news? What’s the best way to help employees improve? Here are four tips for how to say what needs to be said, even if it’s bad news.

It’s Not the One Big Break

Why Incremental Progress Will Get You to Where You Want to Go

I once heard a story about a young, aspiring actor in Hollywood who was invited to go to one of the local parties. It was in effect a Hollywood networking function where famous actors and actresses attended. One of the movie actors there was Walter Matthau. Walter Matthau during his lifetime appeared in more than 60 movies, and won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and two Tony Awards. Reportedly, Matthau asked the young actor how it was going. The aspiring actor replied, “I’m just looking for that one big break!” Matthau laughed, and said, “Kid, it’s not the one big break. It’s the fifty big breaks.”

one big break

Just like the aspiring actor, you won’t achieve overnight success. One big break will not help you. Unless it is supported by other breaks, that one big break will fade. You will attain success through incremental progress—by gaining one big break after another.

You can achieve the success you want if you will focus on these practices.

Read my new post on CLA’s Higher Thinking blog

As a leader, you are the catalyst for the change you want to see in your team. You cannot expect that your team will do what you want them to do on their own. They will want to see your Active Leadership to show them how.

Read my post on CLA’s Higher Thinking blog, “The Four Tenets of Active Leadership.”

I will be sharing this insight with the senior leaders of human resource divisions at the Outcomes Conference 2018. To learn more about the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) Forum, follow this LINK. Be sure to register as soon as possible as the seats are limited for this Forum.

How to Deal with Problem Employees

How to Get the Most Out of Your Team

When you think of the difficult people on your team, what do you think of? How do you perceive the problem employees on your team? Could it be that you are looking at them the wrong way?

problem employees

I’m not saying that everyone is fixable. It may ultimately be better for everyone if certain people don’t work at your organization any more. I think it Abraham Lincoln got it right when he said that people are usually as happy as they make up their minds to be. Nonetheless, you may be the one to help those certain people change their minds.

Difficult people have been through difficult stuff. And hurt people hurt people. If you just pass them off as problem employees then you may be missing a huge opportunity—for them and for you.

I realize that you may not be the pastor-in-chief at your workplace, but you can develop a pastor’s heart for your team. Spiritual insight into their situation can help your team become more positive, more innovative, and more productive.

Here’s how you can get the most out of your team by training yourself in how you look at your problem employees.

The Top Ten Steps to Success

I love reading motivational quotes and slogans. But recently I came across The Top Ten Steps to Success, and I thought this one was too good not to share.


I do not know who the original author is, but I have adapted and inverted the list in true Top Ten countdown style. And I also added my commentary to provide additional insight into this list.

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy The Top Ten Steps to Success.

You Don’t Have to Know What’s In Between

How You Can Have Peace With Uncertainty

You can learn something for your professional career from the Oreo Mystery Flavor. Last fall Oreo announced a contest where the cookie brand offered everyone who submitted the correct flavor on their website could earn a chance to win $50,000. But in order to win the prize, you had to be willing to try a cookie where you didn’t know what the cream filling tasted like. You had to be comfortable with not knowing what was in between.

in between

So much of professional life is spent in between. There is the beginning—the entry into the workplace, the start at a new job, the launch of a new business. And there is the end—the person you want to become, the successful outcome of a new venture, the retirement from working. But there is so much uncertainty between the start and the finish. And the only way you can win the prize is if you are willing to embrace that uncertainty. It is important to get used to being comfortable with not knowing what’s in between.

Here is the process to implement if you are to embrace uncertainty and become comfortable with not knowing what’s in between.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Faith

A Step-by-Step Process to Put Your Faith into Action

I hear people say all the time that you just need to “have faith.” But what does that mean? And more importantly, why does it matter?


If properly applied, faith can be a powerful force, but many people don’t understand it. Some people think that it is just repeating the same statements over and over to yourself. While that may improve their mental outlook, that’s not faith. Others think that it is the mental acceptance of a fact. But knowing about Jesus is not the same thing as believing in Jesus. And there are others who keep their faith in the closet of their life and don’t bring it out except for show on Sunday mornings. That’s not faith; that’s compartmentalization.

Faith will be helpful to you when it’s incorporated into the totality of your life. When it shows up in every part of your life, you can get the most out of your faith. Here’s what it looks like to put action to your faith.