Have you ever solved a ZOOM puzzle? These creative puzzles are created by an artist that zooms into very small parts of a scene and then zooms out to the largest scale possible. For example, one piece of the puzzle might be a Rooster’s foot and another piece might be a view from space. The puzzle invites you to zoom in and zoom out and see things from different perspectives. What’s your perspective?
Maria Popova calls this “taking a telescopic perspective.”Artists and scientists thrive in exploring different perspectives. Carl Sagan, a master of zooming in and zooming out, was famous for commenting on the images of earth from space. He wrote…”That’s us. That’s home…On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being….The aggregate of our joy and suffering, on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam”.
Are you more of a ZOOM out or ZOOM in person?
In work with teams, I find there are some people who are just more hard wired to zoom in, look at the details and focus on the smaller scale. In addition, there are some people who are more talented at zooming out, blue sky thinking and big visionary perspectives. Teams need both perspectives.
And, I’ve often noticed that “Zoom in people” and “Zoom out people” often misunderstand each other because their lenses on the world are so different. For example, when we just zoom in, we miss the opportunity to see where we are going in the future. When we just zoom out, we may overlook the resources needed to implement a vision.
This week try practicing zooming in and zooming out at work and in your community. Practice taking a” telescopic perspective and then try zooming in. What do you notice? Try working with someone who has a different zoom strategy than yourself.
Here are a few Zoom In and Zoom Out Strategies to try:
- When you facilitate a meeting, start with a zoom out question…”At the end of this meeting, how will we know we’ve been successful? “ and then a zoom in….”What are three action steps we must take?” Setting zoom in and zoom out expectations before a meeting helps all participants engage more fully.
- When your team is stuck and can’t resolve a challenge zoom in and zoom out. Zoom out and notice when the team was not stuck, “what were they doing differently?” Zoom in and recall what happened to help the group get unstuck in the past. How we’ve been successful zooming in and out in the past during challenges can be enormously helpful in finding pathways forward.
- During a performance review, take time to zoom out and zoom in. Zoom out by asking “tell me about a time where you were successful and it impacted the team in a positive way ”. Zoom in…”what is one specific way you’ve used one of your strengths to overcome a challenge this year?” and “What is one specific area of development you want to focus on for the next 4-6 weeks?”
Enjoy Zooming! And I encourage everyone to try a Zoom puzzle.