Wait! Why You Should Take a Step Back Before You Act

by Emily Pieper

Focusing on the Big Picture
By Emily Pieper

Today bright and early at 7:30 a.m., this was the lively scene at breakfast of our third day here at Redesigning 2012. When I was capturing this, I actually was only testing out how well my phone's panoramic mode would work when everyone was moving around. When I uploaded it to my computer after, I experienced one of those enlightening light bulb moments when everything collides in your mind and suddenly becomes crystal clear.

What I realized was that, in a way, this simple photo represented the underlying theme of the summit: Whole Systems Thinking. Basically what I think this phrase means is that to solve problems you have to step back and look at the whole picture. Sometimes we can get so focused on one aspect of an issue that we miss other parts. Everyone has done this at least once in their life, and I realized that I certainly have when I talked to Doc Hendley after his inspiring presentation on Monday.

I asked him what he thought his biggest obstacle was that he had to overcome to bring his idea of Wine to Water to life. He answered by saying that besides the obvious internal struggles that he went through (like culture shock when he returned home), he had to learn about the basics of running an organization.

This was interesting to me just because I had never really thought about that part of starting an organization to help people; the main part that I had focused on was the helping people part, which I now know can't happen as well without standing back for a minute and understanding the whole picture.


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