Cambridge Dictionary (Online)
English definition of “not see the wood for the trees”
UK (US not see the forest for the trees)
> to be unable to get a general understanding of a situation because you are too worried about the details.
It means that in focusing on the individual trees you cannot see that they form a wood (as in forest). It means that you are unable to see the bigger picture because you are focusing on the details.
I had a meeting with a well renowned person today. I was very surprised to hear him say that if you want to be successful in business then you should focus 100% of your energy on that, and not be distracted by anything else including time out for reflection in a different environment that you may be very curious about.
Of course it makes sense to focus completely on your business. However I find that those that are overly focused on the detail often don’t see the big picture. It reminds me of Covey’s analogy of ‘the clock and the compass’ from one of the most influential books on my life – ‘First Things First’ written by Stephen Covey along with A. Roger and Rebecca R. Merrill. The authors assert that
identifying primary roles and principles provides a “true north” and reference when deciding what activities are most important, so that decisions are guided not merely by the “clock” of scheduling but by the “compass” of purpose and values.
Back to ‘wood for the trees’. One of the reasons my Power of Seven
groups works so well is that it helps business leaders to take that small bit of time out of their busy lives (1.6% of their time) to see the wood for the trees by getting reflections/ideas/feedback from fellow peers. I haven’t met one business person yet no matter how successful that doesn’t suffer from this human weakness!
Recently a member of a Po7 group arrived to a meeting very stressed. He explained during the update process that he had a major issue with one of his management team, not co-operating, etc. He felt the weight of the world on his shoulders (and looked like he did too!). He then went on to update on other aspects since we met the two months previous. After seven minutes of updating on his overall situation he realised that things weren’t at all as bad as he initially thought. He realised that whilst the issue with one of his managers was important, in the scale of things it was just another issue that he would have to deal with. Overall, his company was back making good consistent profits, his market share was increasing, things with the family were going well, especially having taken action on his ageing parents as a result of a previous Po7 group discussion, and he was doing pretty well himself – he had lost a stone, was back on the bike and eating healthier food. So a temporary issue with a manager was important but not worth carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and in the process feeling like overall things were going badly, when in actual fact that was not the case at all. Can you believe that a seven minute reflection using the Po7 update process could give you a benefit like this. I can. I see it all the time!
Being a member of a Power of Seven group helps you see the wood for the trees.
New groups starting now in Athlone, Dublin, Galway and Limerick. Contact me if interested or let me know anyone that might be? Always on the look out for quality people who could benefit from their own personal advisory board.