TELESCOPE & MICROSCOPE
The leader needs to review things to see how they are going. This means check in on sales, review manufacturing, evaluate people, get into problem solving mode when stuck and do fire fighting when needed.
In this model many leaders, working virtually can get overwhelmed and be unable to see the long term opportunities. On the other hand they can get stuck into small details and become micro managers who irritate their teams and do not get things done.
What can be a solution to adopt a balanced mindset.
A simple way is to think of reviews falling into 2 categories.
The first is you as a scientific leader using a telescope to see the future and think about the long term.
The second is you as a scientific leader using a microscope to zoom into the details of a business and evaluate every aspect of it thoroughly.
Key is to do both but do them separately. How can you do this ?
1. Telescope Reviews – These ask the big questions – What is in the future ? Who can disrupt us ? What new categories should we enter ? What organisation model should we have ? These sessions must have some input for starting the conversation like an industry analysis or a report, then healthy brainstorm discussion with an open mind and finally conclude next steps. They should be done in an open friendly inspiring environment, ideally outdoors or atleast where there is sun and sky to feel the air and feel good. You can also call them think big or strategy sessions. They should be short – from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
2. Microscope Reviews – These ask the small questions – What is our product wise profitability ? How is sales growth by regions ? Who is performing and who is not ? What is our distribution footprint ? How is the latest prototype working. These are analyse and act meetings. The goal is to dive deep, analyse issues, spot opportunities, make action plans and act on them. These need to be granular, use data to make effective decisions and put accountability on different individuals to take action. These need to be longer – usually 2 hours to even a full day. Do them in meeting rooms where you can focus and zoom into the details.
Do not mix the two. Do not go into micro details in the telescope reviews. Do not brainstorm idly in the microscope reviews. Use the telescope to set the strategic direction and long term goals. Use the microscope one to set the action plan for today, tomorrow and this quarter.
Take action today. Schedule 1 telescope and 1 microscope review today.