This is part of a dialog recently posted on GaryNorth.com:
“How common is it for anyone to have a 40,000 ft perspective?”
- a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
- a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent: an architect’s perspective of a house.
- a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.
- the state of existing in space before the eye: The elevations look all right, but the building’s composition is a failure in perspective.
- the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.
Perspective is a human trait, in all humans, exercised to a greater or lesser extent in any individual as the individual chooses. Those that choose to step back and consider a broader (or another) perspective in any particular context will; those that don’t, won’t.
In the context of career planning and development, I presume Pareto’s Principle applies: most folks won’t bother, and will maintain a “my job” perspective.
“Is it prevalent only among top-20% companies and management professionals?”
I presume Pareto’s Principle applies. My experience is that it’s an individual thing, regardless of environment.
Nonetheless, pick a context. Some individuals will have a certain perspective; some will have a different perspective. Change contexts; same results, but different mix of individuals with differing perspective. Perspective is not a zero sum game.
…I referenced two models, labeled The Seven Ports of Life and The Seven Ports of Management. In a sense, these two models assist in developing perspective: viewing the entire landscape from a higher level; or, from one port differentiated from the others. (I.e., “… in having a meaningful interrelationship”)
Note that people naturally operate within all these ports. Perspective in this context comes into play when they realize what part of the whole they are operating within.
“I am pretty sure that no one in my current or former companies has a 40,000 ft perspective.”
I do not concur with your conclusion, because I’m not willing to come to that conclusion based on lack of evidence. Unless I’ve been in their heads, I’ll not know. I haven’t; and, I don’t.
But, it matters little what perspective others have; yours is the perspective of paramount importance vis-a-vis your career plan. You may choose to adopt another/different perspective; then again, you may not. Same choice for everyone else.
“Can one develop the 40,000 foot perspective in a sub-optimal environment?”
Perspective is in the mind. The environment is only that. How the environment affects your perspective is up to you; your choice. Same choice for everyone else.
“And should one relate to management teams in sub-80% companies differently than in top-20% companies?”
From the perspective that environmental variables can affect your ability to accomplish your goal and objectives, yes, you will relate differently in different environments and with different individuals in those environments. In order to accomplish your goal and objectives, which are yours, you will be required to operated differently with different individuals and different groups of individuals. Because each and all have varying agendas, each and all will support and oppose (directly and indirectly) your accomplishment of your goal and objectives to varying degrees.
But, the guiding purpose in any environment is accomplishment of your goal and objectives; the others are the environmental variables you get to steer around or go through, and use to your benefit.
This is at the heart of the question: “how will you use this to advantage?” Stated more fully: how will you use the others in this specific environment to accomplish your goal and objectives? Change environments or others, and the question remains.
“…from what I have picked up, the management in this company is more persuaded to give raises by people’s so-called “needs”…I have not heard about any “merit” raises (unless you count counter-offers when an employee brings a higher offer from another company)…other than leaving?”
Perspective Building Question One: where will you go to solve your problem? (“Change environments or others, and the question remains.”)
Perspective Building Question Two: who is management, if not you? (Remember: Management is the accomplishment of predetermined objectives through others.)
Perspective Building Question Three: whose problem is this to solve? (Ask yourself if the above situation helps or hurts you from a 10,000 foot – whole job – perspective.)
Perspective Building Question Four: what is the value of a me-versus-them argument? (Consider the extent to which you need the support of these others to accomplish your goal and objectives.)
What’s My Relationship?
“How should one relate to management in this type of environment…?”
If you are present to accomplish your goal and objectives, then view your relationship in that context. How will you use the others in this specific environment to accomplish your goal and objectives?
For example, unless you’ve assumed a different goal for this engagement, it remains becoming the CFO. In this context, what remains is this: “Someone has to develop and build the CFO…you will need all the help that you can get – ESPECIALLY from your firm.”
Personally, for my own career, I would relate within the context of using the firm and management to build my capability in support of accomplishing my goal. I wouldn’t wait for them; I’d be pushing my development envelope; using them. (Review the first post in this thread and compare the “Planning and execution…” statements within the “5,000 Feet” and “10,000 Feet” sections.)
That means that I’d use the present environment and those in it to proactively engage in defining and planning my development actions and activities; such as during my performance review.
As one example, if I needed to build business case capability, then I’d use use your comment: “…give raises by people’s so-called ‘needs’…I have not heard about any ‘merit'”
…As an opportunity to build a business case to persuade the firm to implement a policy of basing compensation on merit. The point of the exercise is to build my business case capability; the firm and this problem are merely the vehicles. If my business case was accepted, then there would be follow-on opportunity in other areas; such as policy-making. If not accepted, then my follow-up AAR would indicate where my capability lacked, to be corrected in subsequent actions.
If I needed policy-making capability, then I’d look for problems that policy could address.
If I needed planning capability, then I’d look for problems that planning could address.
Regardless, the more numerous the problems, the greater the opportunity for vehicles for my development.
When I closed the gap of where I am today with accomplishment of my goal and objectives for this engagement, then it would be time to cross that line of departure to the next engagement (which may or may not be with the same firm).