I was on the plane from Denver to Kansas City when the gentleman next to me struck up a conversation. As it turns out, he is a retired educator and clergyman and we shared some observations on technology, especially as it related to the issue of texting. We were laughing/struggling with the image of young people, so engrossed in texting that they were entirely distracted. But at some point I was reflecting on the subject and began to think about it from a different perspective. It seems to me that it is really an issue of intense concentration, to the point of restricting vision.
Being so focused on one thing, it is very easy to lose track of your surroundings. If there is ever a scenario when situational awareness is completely hampered, it is at these moments. Even if, as a leader, you were to "get up on the balcony" to observe from a different perspective, chances are that if your focus were so narrowed on one subject, you still might miss the subtle and even the obvious, when considering impact upon whatever is actually occurring.
Sometimes the challenges we face are so daunting or so in need of our engagement, that we forget to consider alternatives. These issues may cause us to hone in on only the details that are immediately apparent to us, as they may jump right out and comand our attention, and cause us to lose sight of the process: to define the problem, gather the facts, consider alternatives, and implement the solution. Instead we may become completely absorbed in whatever element of that process that causes us the most challenge and we may be paralyzed due to that restricted sightline. And just as importantly, peripheral vision helps us to consider other factors as they intercept our path and instead of navigating away or turning to combat the issue head on, these factors take us completely by surprise.
Consider that while we may be too close to our problem to be objective, we may even not resolve that perspective by standing back from it, because we are fixed on the issue and unwilling to pay attention to subtleties. When faced with a monumental challenge, it helps to step back from it, but it also helps sometimes to put the issue down altogether, to walk away from it and reflect, and then revisit the problem with fresh eyes.
Note: Thanks to my traveling companion for his insight and sharing his observations. And as an FYI, depending on what Irene does, I'll probably be a little busy, so if you don't see anything on FHZ for a while, please stop back by because once I get time, I'll get caught back up again. Thanks for reading.