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Zooming In and Zooming Out… Do You Do Both?

Left brain or right brain? Innovation versus execution? Process or people? Strategic versus tactical? Many of these concepts are positioned as either/or behaviors or default types of people, teams and organizations. There are ample tools to help determine your dominant type or style. There are also dozens if not hundreds of books on each of these topics. Every one of them attempts to make the case for why their model or view of the world is the better mousetrap. Each one supported by research and case studies supporting their argument.

Given all the information that is out there, it should be pretty easy to determine how one needs to think and act in order to be successful, right? Not really. Is it that the difficulty in choosing correctly is relative to the situation? Partly.

The issue is that we tend to swing like a pendulum when it comes to analyzing and solving business issues. We go into “strategic planning mode” for a while, then dive into mastering new tools or technologies for a bit. Once we’ve done that we may launch an employee engagement program because it’s all about the people, right? And then we dive into six sigma or process improvement for a while and those programs yield some impressive results.

The soup du jour method of running a business isn’t really one that is viable or sustainable, although it may be fun for some.

In my work I’ve observed that the authors and thought leaders that have the ability to zoom in and zoom out are the ones that are making a difference and growing their respective businesses at a faster pace than those who aren’t. Business is dynamic. Choices that you make are usually not permanent and need to be reevaluated, tweaked and modified over time as circumstances change. The market changes, clients demands and needs change, technology changes, cultures morph and evolve.

You need to constantly revisit what you are doing and if it is still the best way to accomplish your objectives. What is challenging for many is that we all (as individuals, as teams and as organizations) have default tendencies. Some are visionary and future focused while others are more oriented towards execution and implementation. We prefer to stay in our comfort zones whatever they may be.

If you’re a zoom in type (tactical/execution/operational), try zooming out for a bit. If you’re a zoom out type (big picture, strategic thinker, future focused), spend some time drilling down on the tactics and processes. There is never just one right way to achieve a goal or objective and alternative view points, ideas and concepts are needed today more than ever.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Peter,
    This practice is a discipline. Once in our comfort zone we don’t like to budge, and we feel productive even when often times we may be accomplishing just busy work. Thank-you for a great reminder of the dynamics of change whether we like it or not.
    Wonderful article.

  2. I tend to agree with Ford Kanzler that we must have some balance in all things!
    But the main question is how handle the company/business/market pressure that try to keep you in some of this areas.

  3. Peter
    I had a leader, who says: We are human being, we are intelligent therefore we change our ideas

  4. Great post, Peter! I have experienced the bouncing back and forth with the focus being a moving target. It can be a big drain on morale. I agree that if leaders develop the skill of zooming in and out they should be able to bring a healthy balance. Thanks for this one!

  5. I agree, sometimes when people say another has good focus that means to to the exclusion of everything else. This isn’t good in complex situations with changing environments.

    We should also look back in time to learn and look forward plan. Look out the rear-view mirror and out the windshield.

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