Big picture and close up – The 200 words project

Here’s this week’s 200 word idea from Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath..

American President Franklin D Roosevelt always worried about the quality of information that reached him. So, he had a strong network of people outside the federal government who gave him feedback. He would even have his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, visit projects unannounced and send him reports. He also maintained relationships with lower members of staff to ensure he always had the right information.

But, his most important tool was the ‘big picture and close up.’ He used polling heavily to figure out what the people thought. During his time, the White House would receive 5000-8000 letters every day. If it dipped, he would complain. He would make sure they were analyzed in terms of the problems they found and made sure they were then categorized (e.g. 3,000 on tax, 2,000 on healthcare, etc.).

Then, he would review specific letters to understand the “temperature” of the issue (e.g. specific complaints on a change to the tax code). This way, he got a big picture view and dived in to understand the nuance.

How can we apply the “big picture and close up” approach to make decisions in our lives?

 Big picture close up

Source and thanks to:

“The country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something… We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely.” | Franklin D Roosevelt