Thanks to the phenomenon known as refraction (light bends when passing through mediums of different densities) we are able to see and focus our eyes on objects, such as this article. If the words are fuzzy and difficult to read; an optometrist can help formulate a prescription for additional lenses (contact or glasses) to help your focus. While our eyes only have one lens and offer a broad perspective; we can employ literal and figurative zoom lenses to get much greater detail and clarity on any subject matter.

The trade-off to achieving greater focus is eliminating some of the things we see – as demonstrated through the lens of my camera. Standing at the same point, I used different lenses to capture very differing images of the exact same scene.

Florence Italy
Skyline of Florence Italy

In the first picture, we see the beautiful skyline of Florence Italy taken from Michelangelo’s Palace. As we zoom in and focus on the religious center of the city, we begin to see the intricately designed marble façade and the gold sphere atop Brunelleschi’s dome; we loose sight of the Palazzo Vecchio and its world famous gallery of statues.

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower)
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower)
Beneath this tower is Michelangelo's famous statue of David
Beneath this tower is the replica of Michelangelo’s David

As we bring this idea to the business world; the change in perspective can often be just as dramatic. Your regular physician has a broad perspective on medical ailments, treatments, procedures, and the like. The focus on physicians is to keep all our systems working together, allowing us the gift of healthy life. But if you have a constant pain in your knee; you’ll likely get a recommendation to see an orthopedic specialist who has a deeper understanding of the intricacies of joints.

To operate effectively, we need both perspectives. The wide angle generalist approach gives us a big-picture view of a scenario, but lacks in vast amounts of detail. The more narrow the focus, the greater detail we will see, but often miss out on the sense of scale or full spectrum. To make it through life, business, and the mere 700 meters that separate these wonders of creation, we must create partnerships where both perspectives are used to bring us unique advantages.