Taking time out to see the big picture and make course adjustments (big or small).

In email conversations with Robert Jacobson who kindly wrote me about my post The Innovation Interrupt, he mentioned how we often need to “take time out to see and do things differently”.

Much of the daily busy-ness in business is focused on relatively detailed, micro activities. Balancing a spreadsheet, writing SQL JOINs, trapping strokes, running a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), and proofreading.

Even at fairly senior levels in organisations, decisions makers are themselves often caught up (by necessity or by habit) in doing the work and not thinking about the work. Such is the reality of a world where one person often assumes multiple roles.

Being distracted by the micro activities is like a sculptor getting lost in the assembly process and forgetting to step back and look at the whole – a situation hardly conducive to good art.

Over time, micro activity becomes more automated and less conscious. If you watch a sculptor at work, the artist’s focus is in constant flux – switching fluidly between the micro activity of making, and stepping back to review the progress and make course corrections.

The same thing needs to happen in business (thus the Innovation Interrupt). The risk of not doing so is to wake up suddenly one day from the comfortable lull of repetitive unthinking work; and realise the business has run aground.
or small).