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Focuses on general principles and summary information often in terms of key points.

Exercise
Produce an 'executive summary' of a proposal, report or project- choose a personal example from home if a relevant example from work does not come to mind.

Review
•  Did you find yourself getting into too much detail at an early stage?
•  If you compare your summary with a colleague's what difference in level of detail is there? Differing preferences for the "chunk size" of information is often a cause of difficulty in relationships at work.
•  Remember, details are the "how" whereas Big Chunk thinking focuses on the "what".
 

Tip
Remember, you do not need to consider the details first in order to be able to summarise, try doing it the other way around; you may find this difficult if your natural preference is to be Detail Conscious. The summary should briefly mention all of the relevant information and be no longer than two pages.

For example, if you were to decide to redesign your garden at home, the executive summary for the project would contain (albeit briefly) information on the things regarding the following areas:

•  Reason/rationale for the change
•  Brief summary of the changes
•  Materials to be used
•  Labour and time requirements
•  Summary of projected costs
•  Estimated timescales for completion
•  Divisions of tasks into stages and briefly what those tasks would involve
•  Planting requirements, etc.

Your project summary should also contain a design layout, i.e. a visual schematic, usually from the vertical perspective directly above the garden as if you were in a plane looking down on to it. It is fine for this to be attached as an appendix. Very often, this is the type of information you would receive from a landscape gardener as their proposal if you were a potential client

Comment
Big Chunk thinking is sometimes referred to as 'strategic thinking'. A strategy is a plan, projected into some future timescale, and which is lacking specific operational details (such as detailed descriptions of how the plan should be implemented). Strategic thinking also tends to include both a broad overview of the issues and the linking of, and making connections to, the other relevant areas of the business or organisation. In this way, strategic thinking is linked to both Visual thinking (the 'overview') and Right Brain thinking (making connections to other things).

At senior management levels you would be expected to be able to think very clearly at a strategic level. Research by Cranfield School of Management has shown that the most successful executives have a Big Chunk thinking style preference AND the ability to focus on specific details when and where appropriate. In other words, they are extremely flexible in their cognitive styles for the two specific dimensions of Big Chunk and Detail Conscious thinking.

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