Operations, finance, support – these roles all go down and in. Leadership’s role is to go up and out.
When we go down and in, we want to take deep dives to reimagine processes and procedures. We want to understand the deepest underpinnings of why things work the way they do.
When we go up and out, we want to take flight into a blue sky. We want to look over the landscape and to the limits of the visible horizon. We want to understand the farthest reaches of what’s out there and how it relates to our base on the ground.
These concepts aren’t just for corporate settings either. They each apply to client relationships just as well. There’s a noteworthy difference between when clients need us to go down and in to solve a problem versus look up and out to find a new solution. The last thing we want to do is confuse the two. It’s hard to fix a basic problem with a 5-year plan, or have a 5-year plan that fails to solve basic problems.
No matter the setting, we need both. We need to understand our roles. We need to know who can and will go down and in AND up and out. Progress depends on a balance. It’s on us to find it, align it, and reinforce it.