Zoom Zoom Zoom

Written by Burt Braunius /
April 15, 2014

Leaders are men and women on the go… Zoomers.  Sometimes they go “zoom, zoom, zoom.” Other times you will see them “zooming.”A Mazda commercial says, “Zoom, zoom, zoom. All children know it. Some adults remember it. One car company refuses to outgrow it. Zoom, zoom, zoom.” See the video for yourself by clicking here.

Leaders are always itching to zoom forward. Mostly, they do. Sometimes, they can’t. At times, they slip backwards. And there are times when they are going in circles. But, a major part of leadership is the drive to move a group forward in accomplishing its mission.

Our definition of a leader is that she or he is a person who takes responsibility for moving a group of people forward in accomplishing their mission. Zoom, zoom, zoom. Ask yourself the question, How am I doing in moving things forward?/Moving self?/Moving family?/Moving work responsibilities?

There is another dimension to “Zoom.” It’s called “Zooming.” Leaders increase their effectiveness by “zooming”… zooming in and zooming out.

Leaders “zoom in, and get a close look at select details—perhaps too close to make sense of them. Zoom out, and see the big picture—but perhaps miss some subtleties and nuances.”*

We could also refer to this as getting both micro and macro views. When faced with a challenge, there are times for detailed, intimate analysis. There are also times for stepping back and looking at the big picture.

Michaela O’Donnell Long writes about how she and her husband, Dan, work at their projects. “The task of zooming in happens when one or both of us turn on our blinders to the outside world and dives deeply into the details of a particular project or relationship.  For Dan this happens most often in the editing bay, or on set with a project. For me, I zoom in when I’m writing a paper for school, or in a meeting with a client. In contrast, sometimes we need to zoom out. Zooming out happens when it’s best for one or both of us to take a bird’s eye view on a situation. For Dan, this happens when he helps pinpoint a company’s narrative arc, relating the presenting moments to a larger set of information. For me, it happens when I work to strategize new projects, or set goals for the upcoming year.”**

Ask the question, How am I doing at “mucking around” in the details of this situation? And, What would this look like if I viewed it from a distance or through the eyes of a non-invested participant?

Church Leadership Center works with “zoomers.” CLC was developed in response to the need for improving the training of lay leaders and lay pastors, leaders on the go. We provide leadership development through assessment, personalized training plans, classes, and mentoring so that participants are able to minister effectively in all areas of church life.

*Harvard Business Review, March 2011. “Managing Yourself: Zoom In, Zoom Out.”
**Field Notes Magazine, December 5, 2013. “Zooming In and Zooming Out




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