Management Lessons: Don’t Lose the Forest for the Trees

In a recent Atlantic article by Craig Chapplow, he shared insights on management lessons he was reminded of by seeing how London managed preparation for the 2012 Olympics.  Chapplow acknowledge that there are a few key laws often overlooked by leadership:

“1) Take the high view. When you’re deep into a project, make time periodically to step away from the nuts and bolts of it. A view from a higher altitude offers a clearer picture of overall progress and remaining challenges. What looks like chaos on the ground can turn out to be a well-planned schematic when you got enough distance to view it properly.

2) Get multiple angles. At work, as well as in London, there’s more to a project than you can see from a single angle. Even going up onto the roof of a building didn’t tell me the full story of what’s happening. It’s also important to look from lower and middle levels as well, as I did by stumbling into the garage full of BMWs.

3) Expect last minute surprises. When we get a fuller view and become convinced that things are going smoothly, we still shouldn’t relax too much as a leader. Because no matter how many angles you get, you still can’t see everything. With the opening ceremonies just a couple weeks away, for example, Olympics officials recently decided to close down a portion of the M4, the main road from Heathrow Airport to central London. Engineers discovered cracks in an elevated part of the motorway and closed it for at least three days to make repairs. But they had the resources reserved to make it happen.”



I am weaving my own path to enlightenment as a leader, blogger, mentor and non-profit champion. Want to share your experience and point of view? Contact me at


Categories: Professional Development

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2 replies

  1. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you just shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Im no professional, but I imagine you just made the best point. You obviously fully understand what youre talking about, and I can really get behind that. Thanks for being so upfront and so honest.

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