Why My Wife Swats Flies before Riding Bulls

My wife and I joke that she can’t walk out of the house without emptying the dishwasher. She takes care of small things before tackling big.

Detail-people swats flies before riding bulls.

detail people

Flies distract.

Swatting flies frees my wife to concentrate on the big stuff. On the other hand, I jump on the bull quickly and leave the flies for later, if at all.

4 Ways to deal with fly swatters:

  1. Big-picture-thinkers need detail-people more than detail-people need big-picture-thinkers.
  2. Accept their need to swat flies. Detail-people function better after they kill a few flies. It doesn’t help to chide them.
  3. Understand their motivation. My wife empties the dishwasher, before we go out, for a very practical reason. She doesn’t want to deal with it later. Big-picture-people are great at leaving things till later.
  4. Deadlines help detail-people ignore flies. Time pressure allows detail-people to ride the bull sooner. They know how to get things done. But, if there’s time, detail-people enjoy killing a few small items before attacking a big one.

Leadership application:

  1. Let detail people do what they do best, deal with details. Don’t complain about their strength.
  2. Admire and affirm their ability to get lots done. Detail-people finish stuff.
  3. Detail-people enjoy thinking big picture.  But, too much big picture drives them crazy. They worry about getting it done.

Exception meetings:

Ride bulls before swatting flies, when it comes to running meetings.

“Let’s take care of a few small items, before we address this big issue,” means you’ll rush through important stuff at the end. Small stuff expands, sucks time, and distracts.

My wife:

I used to feel frustrated that my wife emptied the dishwasher just before it was time to go out. Now I grab a dish and help, unless it’s the last one.

How can detail-people and big-picture-people maximize each other?