Leadership Perspective: Something Big or Something Small?

Something Big or Small

Sometimes, our plans as leaders for grandeur and accomplishment get lost in one question that often passes us by. It blinds us from who we really could become because we end up not understanding the difference between the trees and the forest.

That important clarifying question is this:

Do you want to be a small part of something big or a big part of something small?

Growing Your Influence

I think that often we have the mindset that defines us in the second category by default. We have an idea that is small but has the hope to be something big one day and therefore we will be big.

It’s nothing to be ashamed about as by definition we want to influence people and by development and growth the circle of influence should grow and be more effective.

This is commendable but often the small thing goes absolutely nowhere or carries on being very small.

Going Small

For instance, Bob has a passion for coffee and has always wanted to run his own cafe, so he opens “Bob’s Specialty Coffees.”

And to be honest there’s nothing special about Bob’s coffee but he keeps making ends meet to keep his dream open.

Now, Bob isn’t stupid so before he opened his cafe he looked at franchise options with Starbucks and every other major coffee chain, rejecting this idea as he wanted his own brand of coffee to get out there in the market place.

Going Big

However, if he had gone with a franchise, could he have gotten vital experience to make his coffee special? Could the bigger brand name bring in more business and give him a 10x bigger customer base?

The truth is that objectively it’s not wrong to want to be a big part of something small but have you thought about this?

I’ve known some brilliant leaders, innovators and cultural architects who instead of striking out on their own have decided to completely be under the vision of someone else. I believe this is admirable and if more people were like this, all of us leaders would have more influence to outwork ideas and be backed up by leaders were fantastic core ideals.

Defining Leadership

“Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

The leadership I believe in is honest, practical, hard-working and gritty. This doesn’t have to be your ideology too, but the world needs great “second in command” leaders and more importantly leaders who are willing to submit and grow under other great leaders.

Leave the out-dated thinking behind you and don’t always strive to be number 1.

A Small Part of Something Big

How can we change our thinking on being a small part of something big?

1. Realize you can get more opportunity and influence when you’re a small part of something big.

Sure, you’re not the the big boss of all but if you find the right vision to get behind, you’ll get more of a chance to impact the lives of many more people.

2. You can achieve more as part of a core team of leaders than by yourself. Teamwork will always produce greater ideas and more thought through plans than a singular person.

3. The likelihood is that you’ll have more resource being part of something big. You can do more by having more, you can have bigger and better ideas which you will see come to fruition.

A Big part of Something Small

How can we change our thinking on being a big part of something small?

1. It’s not all about You and what you want. When you limit a venture to the limitations that you put on it with a small vision, you end up like Bob. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Bob, but due to his applied limitations that coffee shop will never grow or succeed like he wants.

2. Have a big business mentality by having a greater vision than the something small you have right now. Only a very limited leader will want to keep something the same, most of us want to excel and grow. To do this you must have a bit idea and mentality to achieve all that you want to.

3. Focus on building and strengthening yourself to be strong enough to build the something small into what you want it to be. Developing key leadership characteristics should be fundamental to your personal program of leadership development.

So, should you be a big part of something small or a small part of something big? It’s your choice… but whichever you choose, make a decision to break through your limitations and build your vision.


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

James Baldock

James Baldock is Creator of Leadership Lime
He develops Leadership Culture, Trains People and Empowers Leaders
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One response to “Leadership Perspective: Something Big or Something Small?

  1. Your perspective is excellent! The idea of being an entrepreneur seems grand – be your own boss, set your own rules, blaze your own trail and leave your mark in the world. We may be blinded by a rebellious spirit cultivated by a work environment that seems oppressive. And, of course, watching someone else do anything makes the act seem so much easier than it really is.

    We seem to forget that the whole is greater than all its parts (does anyone remember the concept of gestalt?). Few of us are fortunate enough to stumble upon the right idea at just the right time for just the right audience. Even if that happens, who can say that everything just naturally falls into place as it should?

    I love your quote from Peter Drucker: “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” I suppose in reality, if all our organizations (not just businesses, but schools, religious institutions, political and social structures) operated from this premise, we all would be very different people.

    Thanks for a great article!


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