I have a really simple trick to automatically increase your leadership potential in the eyes of your superiors. Like anything worthwhile it does take practice, but it makes a huge difference relatively quickly.
It’s called ‘describe the forest, not the trees’ and it works like this.
Some people, in trying to describe a forest, lead their audience through a longish, meandering description of each tree. ‘Here’s this tree’, they say, ‘it is tall and wide. And here’s the next tree. It is an oak and is home to a possum that spends all night defecating and waking the baby with its alarming grunts’. After a few minutes, their audience has a general idea of what the forest looks like, but really doesn’t care any more – they’ve fallen asleep.
I’ve noticed that the most successful leaders always – always – describe the forest first, then pick out only the relevant trees for further elaboration, i.e., ‘Here’s the forest. It is providing adequate accommodation for the defecating possum. The trees that are causing issues are tree A, for reason X, and tree B, for reason Z’.
The reason this technique works is that those at the top have very limited time. People who can present a succinct message, clearly outlining the big picture followed by the relevant details (and let me emphasise relevant), are seen as valuable assets and get promoted more quickly than those that don’t. I’ve seen it time and time again.
If you’re wanting to become a master at this particular technique, check out Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle. It’s like the mecca for structured thinking nerds.