Leaders and managers are an intelligent lot. They have to be. Their performance rests on possessing a comprehensive set of competencies in areas that span accounting, technology, business operations, team building, and more. But, a comprehensive skill set may not be enough, leaving an important attribute of managing overlooked, as illustrated in the slide show that follows.

What’s obvious is that all these stories are about failure.

What’s not so obvious is that all these failures share the same cause–they all involve a disconnect of some sort. Underlying each story is a bigger picture, with overriding agenda and forces, that those with the power to decide, design and direct did not see.

The connections among variables and the environment — whether in business, technology or society —  are what determines destiny.  The stories illustrate that it was not enough for decision makers, many of which were at high levels in their fields, to rely solely on their competencies. Instead, the ability to see the big picture was needed to inform their actions.

The same holds true for managers and leaders today.  Seeing the big picture is essential in order to reveal existing and/or potential disconnects. Yet, knowing how to view the big picture is as elusive as the unseen failure-causing disconnects in these stories. This topic will be explored further in a future blog post.