Four Ways To Zoom Out For Bigger Vision And Greater Impact

Is your goal for the week to plow through your email and to-do list? While being goal-oriented is generally helpful, laser focus on a checklist can result in forgoing the larger impact of seeing and doing the right things.

Head of sales for a 7,000-person, manufacturing company, Larry’s legendary productivity earned him the nickname, “The Machine.” His daily yield of items outstripped the contributions of other team members. Yet one day, Larry’s CEO confronted him with a moment of reckoning. In his singular focus on getting things done, Larry had undermined multiple big-picture efforts. While many team members were struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic and transition to remote work, he pressured them to toughen up and double down, threatening “changes” if results didn’t follow. In his rush to close new prospects, he had short-changed a current customer. He missed a key market indicator while heads down on the daily deliverables.

Larry realized he needed to reset. During coaching sessions, we discussed the importance of periodically zooming out to gain perspective and create space for reflection. Larry needed a broader view of his impact on his team and the bigger trends and strategic shifts affecting the business. Several of his relationships with co-workers were on shaky ground because of his single-minded focus on delivering more tangible results. He would have to adjust his habitual pattern of immediate action to allow for sustained reflection.

The blank spaces in written communication are critical to understanding; similarly, the space created when we stop acting and start reflecting is essential to big picture comprehension. We have to create this space. It doesn’t automatically present itself. Any of the following four types of reflective activities can help you reclaim your perspective. Choose a mode (or two) of reflection best suited to your desired outcome.

1.      Learning. Reflect on a significant event that occurs each week using these questions: a) what was the situation; b) what was my role; c) what am I learning; and d) how will I apply my insights going forward? This pause in the action provides space to process a significant event and introspect for personal insights before the specifics recede in the rearview mirror. One of my clients has a leadership development program where I coach groups of six people for ten months. Utilizing this weekly format, participants experience new realizations, share the results of their reflections with peers, and benefit from replaying the action from additional vantage points. 

2.      Planning. Review each week’s entire activities and plan for the following week using these prompts: a) successes last week; b) failures last week; c) distractions last week; d) lessons learned; e) priorities for this week. This template keeps you accountable to your biggest priorities while highlighting smarter future objectives based on lessons learned.

3.      Habit changing. If you’ve repeatedly tried to break the same bad habit or adopt a healthy one, consider a fact-based approach instead of revisionist history. Use a Yes List to track

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College political groups shift to Zoom, social media amid pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. — Ahead of the first presidential debate in late September, the College Republicans at UCF posted a bingo card on Instagram with spaces reading, “Trump calls Biden ‘sleepy Joe,’” “Candidates share an awkward elbow bump,” and, “Moderator can’t control the debate.”

The pandemic created a need for a revamp of the group’s website and a stronger focus on virtual strategy to connect with students, said its president, Didi Malka. Among the changes: A social media manager was added to the board of directors.

“In terms of social media, we have definitely upped the ante,” he said.

Hannah Anton, president of College Democrats at UCF, said the organization recently hosted a Q&A on Zoom with Orange-Osceola state attorney candidate Monique Worrell, who won the Democratic primary in August.

“As an organization, it’s really important to us, not only to obviously amplify Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their ticket but also to be focusing on our down-ballot Democrats,” said Anton, a 20-year-old political science junior.

Student political organizations, typically known for canvassing on campus with voter registration clipboards in hand, have been forced by COVID-19 and distance learning to adopt virtual tactics as they try to keep young voters engaged ahead of Election Day.

That means a newfound reliance on social media, Zoom video calls and phone banks to reach the younger demographic, who make up a significant segment of registered voters, but historically have often failed to turn out.

Daniel A. Smith, a University of Florida political science professor and nationally recognized voting expert, provided the Orlando Sentinel with Florida voter registration statistics organized by age group. Of the 2.5 million registered voters ages 18 to 29, 38% are Democrats, 25% are Republicans and 35% are not affiliated with a party.

“Young voters in Florida, as in the rest of the country, disproportionately register as Democrats and as independents. Joe Biden would get a tremendous boost in the Sunshine State if young voters turned out to vote,” he said. “But that’s always a big if.”

Kevin Wagner, Florida Atlantic University political science department chair and professor, said social media has become a catalyst of political conversation for young and older voters alike.

“Increasingly, a lot of the outreach is social media, not just for young people but also older voters increasingly are on places like Facebook, and younger voters on Instagram or TikTok,” Wagner said. “All those platforms have become fertile grounds for political outreach.”

Rallying voters through texts, Zoom

Phone banking and text banking, which students tend to be more receptive to, have grown in importance since organizations can’t canvas on campus, Anton said. With early voting underway, upcoming banks will focus on helping students with their voting plans and providing information.

“People are realizing that politics isn’t just like a bunch of talking heads that have no impact in their life,” Anton said. “I think COVID has really shown not only young people but Americans in general how important local elections are.”

Like their peers on

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