The Zoom Slider
It takes more than one kind of focus to successfully navigate
Often as we navigate through life, we will often find ourselves asking a critical question: which perspective is best? Is it the granular, street-level view, where we’re fully embedded in the details and next moves and checklists? Or is it the bird’s eye view from several thousand feet above sea level where the details disappear, but we’re treated to grand vistas and a clear line of sight to our destination? I’ve heard fairly cogent arguments from both sides of the aisle, sometimes degenerating into needless hostility (in my opinion).
As far as I’m concerned, I think the answer is “it depends”. The truth is that there is a time and place for both extremes and everything in between. For example, I find that as the leader of a team, I get more results if I roll my hands and get dirty during planning, but pull back during execution, because this helps me to continue to steer my team in the overall direction of our objectives.
Team members aren’t spared this need to adjust focus as well. I think the only difference might be that during execution, they need to keep both perspectives. Yes, everyone needs to stop every now and then to ask “why?” And ensure that there is still overall alignment.
So, like a zoom slider, we may need to toggle back and forth between focusing on the details and the big picture, it depends on our context: our objectives, our role, the prevailing circumstances. We must neither get our heads stuck in the clouds, daydreaming and losing touch with reality nor should we get so lost in the details that we miss the forest for the trees.
Not to end this on a cliche, but the trick is finding the balance.
1. What comes easier to you? Detail orientation or big picture thinking?
2. What kind of focus does your current season demand?