Leadership in the Polar Vortex

The Big
[ut_highlight color=”#1e73be”] BIG [/ut_highlight] Picture

Vision is important for everyone.

The hope of the future, the light at the end of the tunnel, and the finish line are all “images” that help us through the harder parts of our journey.

Often, as leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day tasks. It’s not that these tasks aren’t important. Often they are essential and constitute the very building blocks of our mission.

But sometimes as the tasks, meetings, and responsibilities pile up, it’s easy to take our eyes off the big picture. Harder still is to see how our big picture fits into the bigger picture;  the picture of what our city, nation, and world could be one day.

Perusing the Internet a while back, I came across this picture. My first thought was, “Wow, that’s a lot of snow and a long walk.”

simon beck snow art -5

Then I scrolled down to this.


I’ll give you a second to take in the scale of this image.

simon-beck-snow-art-17This is Simon Beck, a snow artist. He created these incredible designs in the snow by snowshoeing, for miles, often at night.

As I read more about Simon I couldn’t help but see the many correlations between his work and leadership.

On Simon’s Facebook page he answers some of the questions posed to him by his fans and he freely admits that more than a few people think he is crazy. (I’d say, few great leaders escape that accusation.)

Below, in his words, he describes to a fan the process of creating these intricate images:

“First I design the image. Then stage one is measuring. Usually, I work outwards from the center. The primary lines are made using a compass and then walking towards a point in the distance, curves are made by judgment. Both require a lot of practice to get good.”

Simon’s process elegantly describes what leaders have to do for their organizations every day.

First, as leaders, we design our image. We envision what the

[ut_highlight color=”#1e73be”] big picture [/ut_highlight] is going to look like. We measure our steps and start walking outward. As leaders, our job is to see the big picture. Our staff, supporters, stakeholders, and clients rely on us to know where the organization is heading and ultimately what steps we have to take to get there. For many leaders dreaming big is not the problem. They see the ultimate destination and drive toward it with passion.

f59d4687dbe62cdc58574f6fc41ece20So what does this mean for collaboration?

Think about Simon’s snowflake design for a second. What if each square represented an organization, business, or government agency?

The precision and execution of each square has to be exact for the whole picture to come together. If each square is isolated, the image as a whole will not work.

It was Simon’s ultimate vision for each individual snowflake that makes his big

[ut_highlight color=”#1e73be”] BIG [/ut_highlight]picture work.

Author: Brianne Dornbush

By | 2017-02-09T09:09:32+00:00 November 20th, 2014|Collective Impact, Emerging Leaders, Headlines|0 Comments

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