When Does a Business Need a Helicopter View?

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helicopter view 1The bigger a business or a project becomes, the harder it is to manage – seems pretty self-explanatory, right? You’re going to need more employees to execute tasks, more managers to guide them, more contractors and partners. This all is the result and the sign of a company’s success, and is usually warmly accepted by business owners. However, there is a certain point in a project’s growth when the need of another kind emerges.

This happens when a project gets too large to manage it in an old way. When it feels like you’re losing control over the course of events. Your view of the project becomes obstructed by smaller issues and day-to-day tasks. Although this too is a completely normal stage in a project’s development, business owners sometimes fail to recognize it and to react properly. Today, we will tell you about helicopter view and how it can help your company at this important stage.

Why we lose the big picture view and how to retain it

Imagine yourself walking in the field towards a house seen on the horizon. Your path is clear, you can see where you’re heading and where you have come from. Now imagine that you’re walking in the forest. You know that the house is somewhere ahead, but you have no clear directions, and trees obstruct your sight. But if you manage to find a high hill or climb up a tree, you’ll see the big picture, and the direction will become clear as if you were standing in the field.

The ability to see not only the forest and the trees, but also a big picture view is what’s important for a growing business. It is often referred to as “helicopter view”, “systems thinking”, or “clarity of purpose”. The concept was first implemented in the 20th century by Royal Dutch Shell Company, who’d noticed that their most successful managers all possessed this skill.

Being able to see the wholes, to spot the interrelationships, to view things with a perspective and a context is extremely important for planning a strategy and, even more, for executing it properly. So how does one develop the helicopter view skill? Well, it takes a bit of imagination and climbing a ladder of abstractions.

First of all, “zoom out” from the current situation – step back from short-term and urgent problems and concentrate on seeing the whole project view. Second, think about the present situation in a five or ten year perspective. Imagine different scenarios for the future, and draw strategies around them. Finally, repeat the previous steps regularly. This helps you keep the right course during your strategy formulation process, while still keeping the details in sight.

Tools of trade

Using the right tools greatly improves the effectiveness of the helicopter view. Roadmap Planner is one of them. It is a strategy building app and is designed in a way that really benefits to the big picture view. With it, you can see the whole business with its departments, their interrelated projects, important milestones, status of tasks, and other crucial information – all within a single page.

helicopter view 2This app will be a big help for anyone feeling lost and overwhelmed with day-to-day works and urgent tasks. Interested? Download it now and get a 21 day free trial!

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Comments

  1. You got my attention when you said that you should consider using a helicopter if you’d like to view things with a perspective to make sure that you’ll be able to plan your strategies well. I will make sure to share this with my father. He said that he’s planning to own a business in the future, and it’s important for him to have a way to view how his construction business will progress from time to time. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Hello Ellen,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Building the right strategy and having a bird’s-eye view on how your business is progressing is extremely important. We’re sure that with the right tools and a good strategy your father will definitely succeed in his business!
      BTW: We have more strategic tips & insights on the way! Subscribe to our monthly digest and get them right into your inbox.

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