30,000 Foot View Definition: Meaning in Business

Patrick Ward Patrick Ward Follow Jun 11, 2024 · 1 min read
30,000 Foot View Definition: Meaning in Business

Business Definition of 30,000-foot view

The term “30,000 foot view” is used to describe the objective, big-picture perspective on a company, project, or other topic under discussion. It is a reference to the view of terrain from an airplane.

What Does “30,000 foot view” Mean?

When a business becomes large enough to install middle management and a top-down structure, it becomes neccessary for managers to focus on strategy and market awareness while core contributors focus on day-to-day tasks like writing code, sending sales emails, etc. This “big picture” thinking is often called “the 1000 foot view” or “the 30,000 foot view.”

The expression has become a bit of a cliche, as it’s commonly used in meetings to distract from smaller details of a project when the speaker wants to cover up their lack of knowledge about a subject.

Usage Example

We expect director-level employees to maintain the 30,000 foot view and establish strong strategies.

Origin of the term 30,000 foot view

The term “30,000 foot view” refers to the cruising altitude of an airplane. When viewed from above, you may not be able to see individual people, but you can see that there are a lot of farms in Ohio, or that there are a lot of roads converging on NYC. Similarly, an executive might not need to be aware of the technical requirements for a project, but can still see that there is more of a market opportunity for a particular initiative, compared with other initiatives in the organization.

Synonyms and variations of 30,000 foot view

  • Thirty-thousand foot view
  • 20000 foot view
  • Twenty-thousand foot view
  • 10000 foot view
  • Ten-thousand foot view
  • 1000 foot view
  • Thousand foot view
Patrick Ward
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Hi, I'm Patrick. I made this site to share my expertise on team augmentation, nearshore development, and remote work.