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…

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.

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 we 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 is not 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 that are not. 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 revise 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 (tactical / execution / operational) type try zooming out for a bit. If you're a zoom out (big picture, strategic thinker, future focused) type 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.