In my last post, Change the Right Things, not Everything, I highlighted how Intel shifted away from the memory business and into the microprocessor business full time. Andy Grove and Gordon Moore concluded that this was the correct decision when Grove zoomed out – as Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen in Great by Choice call it – by posing his question about what a new CEO would do in their place.
Collins and Hansen adopted the terms zoom out and zoom in to capture a duality they observed in “10X” leaders. These leaders have the capability of remaining “obsessively focused on their objectives and hypervigilant about changes in their environment.”
Zooming out in a leadership context is about sensing changes in business conditions, the time frame involved, and the risk – ultimately leading to an assessment as to whether new conditions will call for disrupting existing plans. Zooming in, on the other hand, is all about “supreme execution of plans and objectives.” But there is another flavor of zooming in and out.
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