Frankly Speaking: Stop Thinking Small


Our Chairman and CEO, Frank Palmer, writes a regular email to the company containing his opinions, trends he finds interesting, great work or sometimes just funny videos. As a guy who built up an agency from nothing to a national powerhouse, sold it to Omnicom so it could become DDB Canada, and is now angel investing in Vancouver technology companies, I think he’s someone we should all pay attention to.

With his kind permission, I’ve reposted his latest missive below.

Have you ever heard the line: “are you counting the ants as the elephants are walking by?” It’s a line that’s about thinking small. It’s about people who are so busy dealing with the small stuff and who are continuously missing out on the big opportunities in life and in business. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t worry about small details, but when you spend too much time sweating the small stuff, the big stuff and opportunities walk on by.  Some people I know can never make a decision. They can never get enough information it seems to make one.

Thinking too small can hold you back from your potential. I heard a line that said: Small minded people think small thoughts.” Many small business owners remain just that… SMALL.

However acting small and thinking big is a very different story. Big isn’t always good either. Remember General Motors.

My message is a simple one.

In running a successful department, unit or company, don’t get too bogged down in the smaller details and lose focus on the bigger picture. In essence, instead of focusing on just a few trees remember that in business you are navigating a large forest. Sometimes too much focus on the ants walking by is holding you and your company back from the larger goal. [In] today’s business climate, more than ever, you need to navigate where you want to go and that’s hard to do when your head is in the trenches.

I know that details are important, but from time to time the occasional hand grenade will be lobbed your way, and you will need to have your head up to see it coming.

It’s very easy into being suckered into thinking the small stuff is actually the big stuff. Perspective and context is everything.

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