Are you more of a "big picture" person or a "details" person? Can that be changed?

I know I'm more of a "big picture" person, but I'm trying to be someone who can also think more clearly about details.

In my previous role, I worked with a team of details people. That worked out well because I was the big picture person who kept things in scope and saw how all the pieces fit together to create a flow to the sequence. However, I'm making a career switch and I think not focusing enough on details could hurt my career growth. For clarification: I can think of details and I certainly notice small details all the time in my personal life, but when it comes to my career I have trouble with details.

Do you think there's a way I can change that? Is there a way to become more of a "details" person at work? If yes, what strategies do you think are useful?

Catherin3's profile thumbnail
Hi Ashley,This is such a great question. I am curious: do you have trouble with the details in the sense that you don't do anything/much after thinking of them or are you executing but have found that you are missing key pieces?
AshleyPalmer's profile thumbnail
I would say more of executing but missing key pieces. Because I'm someone who looks at things holistically, I struggle to flesh out the details before execution. Part of the problem also comes from perceived overload - if I start thinking too much about the details, I start obsessing about perfection and tend to get burned out on the project.
jeankaplansky's profile thumbnail
I'm mostly the opposite: way down in the weeds (obsessing about perfection). I poke my head up to pay attention to the big picture, but my tendency to talk back down into the weeds in meetings and stray too far from the big picture is a continual work in progress.
Catherin3's profile thumbnail
I tend to be both.There is this phrase I heard the other day that applies so much to the struggle of fleshing put the details;"The work comes before the belief"When executing we start getting more clarity and keep moving forward even though we don't know the exact steps or are worrying too much about the perfect delivery
iammyr's profile thumbnail
I'm the same! And trying the same, trying to dig deeper into technical details/skills. Otherwise I get myself into these big projects while lacking a solid foundation of technical skillset.The way to go about it, imho, is to take upon yourself to fix any bug, anything that breaks. Even if you think is not within your scope. Also stop yourself from uptaking large project and focus on building small but impactful/useful things that the team will be grateful to you for.
AshleyPalmer's profile thumbnail
That's great advice! Perhaps the best way to focus on details is to make sure I'm not undertaking large projects with too many details. Less details means I can focus on them more and try to build that skill.
Mirna's profile thumbnail
hey @AshleyPalmer I think being aware of this is already a great first step -kudos on that :) I would say we all have innate preference with things like this (call is personality trait, talent or personal strength), and that delivering a complementary skill that we are not as strong with is absolutely possible and just takes some practice and good strategies! having that said, it is also common that this "learned skill" (which wasnt our natural preference and talent) often costs us much more time, effort and energy than our natural strengths. So very valid question to ask is: when is it worth it to really invest time in developing this? Or am I better off focusing on my strengths and creating impact with those, while outsourcing/managing the "other thing" (in you case, details) without dealing with it directly? If you think that this is really something that you need to invest time and effort developing, from what you described I would say that the key skill to focus on is planning (= connecting big picture with specific aspects and steps of execution)so, its not about diving into details too much (which you say pulls you into perfectionism) but instead its about creating a good "link" between big picture and details, or creating a plan on which you will have a clear list of all the aspects so you wouldnt miss any bits When you think about it this way, you will notice there are usually several "levels" of thinking, between very big picture to making it a bit more tangible (eg what are the 4 main aspects of this big picture?) and then making it a bit more tangible (what are all the elements of each of these 4 main aspects? ) and than even more and more detailed... kind of like many levels of zoom in and zoom out that you can have into an image on your computerWhen you see it this way, you will also see that it is always a (ideally intentional) decision how much into details you wanna go - and also that it is important to keep one "level" in mind at a time (eg not to go explore deeper detailed aspects before you named the main "big 4 aspects") I hope this wasnt too abstract and that you get what I mean here :DOne great tool for this kind of planning can be mind maps so i would suggest checking these Or any other tools for visual thinking (eg check brandy agerback book idea shapers)Also, trying to collaborate on real projects that you are working on (or at least discuss and ask feedback to your plan) with people who have the complementary skills of being detailed might be a great idea to learn these "levels of thinking" in practice
AshleyPalmer's profile thumbnail
Yes, I certainly understand what you're getting at Mirna! I tend to be an organized, list making person so I'm wondering if between that and using mind maps, perhaps I can focus at least some of my energy on this skill. I know I can always be the role of the big picture person on a team, but for my own personal growth I'd still like to develop more attention to detail. Someone else suggested starting off with small project where I can flesh out details, and I think that might be a great way to start.