After a while, you perfect the technique of scanning the water surface at all angles around the boat, and then quickly focus, and stop scanning to look at a pod that have started to surface. Once you have enjoyed that moment, and it’s unlikely more will surface, you resume scanning again to capture the next event. Scan too slowly and you will miss a pod that already surfaced. Scan too quickly and you miss the enjoyment of the pod that is busy surfacing.
Balancing our work environments is quite similar. We have to balance our attention between the activities in the here-and-now, with the activities required to benefit us in the longer term. We do not want to be so focussed on the current task that we miss exciting opportunities in the future. On the other hand we don’t want to be so focussed on the long term, that we miss out on what is in front of us.
In my experience, a good technique for balancing this zoom in – zoom out requirement is to have quarterly planning sessions where longer term goals are reviewed. During the three month periods in between, the team should keep measuring results but be in zoom in mode, and just execute the plans set. After three months, another planning session can be held where any changes in the macro environment are evaluated, the results analysed and changes in the plans are approved.
This way, you won’t miss out on any dolphins that are about to appear but at the same time will enjoy the experience of the dolphins that have already surfaced.
Happy dolphin watching!