Big Picture Thinking

If you’re like most of the CEOs and sales leaders I work with, you probably handle lots of the day to day mechanics of selling, operations, product development, management—and everything else.

That is working in the business and not on it.

What do I mean by that? All the successful company founders and sales leaders I know were able to 1) grow their business and 2) increase sales revenue by taking periodic steps away from the business.

In other words, they disentangled from the daily activities that can seem so urgent and set aside time to think, reflect, learn about trends and new tools, and plan strategically.

Behaviors All Successful Sales Leaders and CEOs Practice

Highly successful business leaders spend time working on their business. They do this by taking time out for big picture thinking. Here are five behaviors you should practice.

  • Set aside time each day to reflect on your day. How did it go? How do you feel? What didn’t get done? What did you accomplish? Stay focused on what you accomplished rather than what remains to be done.
  • Take eight hours a month (at minimum) away from your business for strategic thinking and planning. I also recommend attending at least a one-day strategic planning retreat per year and half-day reviews once per quarter. (If you’re having trouble taking charge and driving your business, read Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman.)
  • Get feedback and ideas on fresh strategies from your peers. Form a mastermind group.
  • Schedule a half-day or all-day meeting with your team to review the metrics for the month and to ask them what’s working, what’s not working and to get suggestions for improvement.
  • Regularly attend conferences and events where you can network, learn about solutions that will help you grow, and gain a competitive edge.

How Can Attending Events Help with Big Picture Thinking?

This last point is especially important. If you know me, you’re already aware of how much faith I have in the power of networking. When you attend conferences and trade shows, you increase your chances of connecting with other business leaders who are savvier and further along in their own company’s growth. This is how you can learn and improve!

Attending conferences also helps you stay on top of trends. When you have your nose to the grindstone, all you see is the grindstone. As a leader, it’s your job to stay on top of:

  • Sales trends: What processes and tools do modern sellers need, what methods are working, and how can new technology potentially help you grow sales?
  • Industry trends: What are the business challenges and breakthroughs happening in our own industries? What about those of our customers and channel partners?

When we have all of this information and time to think about it, it shapes the way we do things. It allows us to innovate and that innovation leads to the transformations we need to make.

Join Me at the Sales 3.0 Conference in Orlando this March

Sometimes it feels like you can’t afford to be away from your business for a day or two. I promise you, you can’t afford not to. In fact, it’s probably one of the best things you can do for yourself right now.

When you attend a conference, you get a break from the day-to-day. You learn new things and you meet new people. It charges your battery. Then if you schedule a time to assimilate the information you learned and decide how you want to use it, magical things happen. (We’ll be in Disneyland, so pun intended.)


Next month in Orlando, Florida, on March 10th and 11th, you’ll have an opportunity to attend one of the very best conferences for B2B sales leaders and CEOs concerned about revenue growth: the Sales 3.0 Conference (where I’ll be presenting.)

Register by Thursday, February 20th using code speaker250 to save $250! I look forward to seeing you there.

About the Author Alice Heiman

Alice Heiman, the CEOs Sales Coach. According to Forbes.com, she is among the world’s leading experts on the complex sale. She strategizes with sales leadership and provides innovative ideas to grow sales. Originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group, Alice and her team incorporate the newest research and best practices to provide sales programs that generate immediate and sustainable results.

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  • Eric R Korb says:

    Alice gave me this advice years ago. It’s some of the best advice entrepreneurs should take advantage of.

    • Alice Heiman says:

      Thanks, Eric. I agree and I we all need to make sure we have time away from our business to plan and strategize.

  • So important, Alice!

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