Is yours a zoom-in or zoom-out brain?

Is yours a zoom-in or zoom-out brain?

When you’re out in nature, what sends your heart soaring: a distant mountain range or a brightly coloured beetle on a leaf? How you answer this question might say a lot about how you work.

Over the years I’ve worked alongside people with zoom-out brains*. They are brilliant at standing back and seeing the big picture. They are often strategists or senior leaders. Their grand perspective enables them to recognise patterns and identify connections across complex systems.

Meanwhile, those with zoom-in brains are brilliant at focusing on the finer details, spotting nuance and subtlety. They are often the editors, designers, facilitators.

Both types find one perspective energising and meaningful and the other exhausting and dissatisfying.**

The magic happens when the two perspectives collide. The zoom-outs have the big picture but need the keen eyes of the zoom-ins to refine and communicate their vision. This symbiotic relationship is not without friction. Every tussle I’ve ever had about the importance of plain English has zoom-in/zoom-out perspectives at its root.

But things change. I started my journey as a zoom-in zealot, seizing on small details with glee. But over time, my perspective has shifted. I just can’t get involved in the detail of a project without digging into the bigger questions: Why are we doing this? Who is it for? And what are the wider implications?

But enough about me. Are you a zoom-in, a zoom out, or a bit of both?

*Made-up phrase
** Obviously I’m not claiming that all people fall into just two personality types – after all, there is at least one for each zodiac sign 😜

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