The Most Important Thing a Manager Must Know

As a leader and manager, you need to know a lot about a lot – accounting, technology and how to lead teams, to name a few. But, these skills may not be enough, leaving the most important skill overlooked. Do you know what the most important thing is? The following slide show drops some clues.

By Carolyn Thornlow

What Do These Stories Have in Common?

Click the arrow to view the slideshow.

What’s obvious is that all these stories are about failure. What may not be so obvious is that all the failures share the same cause. They all suffered a disconnect. There was a larger context, with overriding agenda and forces, that those with the power to decide, design and direct did not see.


The connections among variables and environment, whether in business, technologies or societies, are what determine destinies. It was not enough for the decision makers in these stories to rest on their competencies, even though they were often at the highest levels in their fields. The bigger picture was needed to inform their actions. The same holds true for every manager and leader. 

Seeing the big picture is the most important thing because it precedes everything else. Yet, knowing how to get the big picture is as elusive as the unseen failure- causing disconnects. Our Big Picture Plan™ teaches owners and managers how to see and act from the Big Picture which allows them to reduce issues and avoid them altogether. Until you’ve mastered that, enjoy our blog to find answers to immediate issues.

The Secret to Managing Teams is a website that invites employees, would-be and actual, to evaluate businesses as employers. Between this kind of playing field leveling application and an upcoming workforce that eschews long term commitment, employers are trying to make their workplaces desirable. That’s a good thing. Workplaces should be desirable. But, the inclination has to be more than a jump onto a fad bandwagon. A colleague of mine said, “Why does every firm think I want to play foosball?” Open workspace designs, while fashionable, detract from productivity according to a recent New York Times article. Creating a team framework does not automatically endow a business as being innovative, the holy grai

How Managers Can Make Better Decisions

Decision‐making is a discrete discipline. It is so important, especially in high stakes situations such as the military or NASA, that whole computers are dedicated to nothing but decision‐making. This is not to say that stealth in implementing plans is not important to a project’s success. But, the old acronym GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) applies to all thought‐systems. No system, manual or otherwise, is going to work well if its design is ill‐conceived or inconsistent with objectives. Over the years I've consulted to small businesses, I've noticed that decision‐making is lax. This is not an indictment, per se, though David Maister's insightful article The Courage to Manage may have come c

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