Standing at One Hundred Feet: The Need For Different Perspectives

Good institutions need leaders at ground level, ten feet, one hundred feet, and on a mountain top. Where are you standing?

Perspective gives us a framework to understand concepts. You can change a situation’s integrity by simply looking at it at a different angle. Often influential individuals have unique perspectives that others gravitate to. It is the unique perspective that often sheds light on a specific moment, changing it forever. Through different lenses, we can uncover new truths. Efficient institutions need key individuals with unique perspectives; it is often why we specialize in certain areas (i.e. marketing, biology, banking, nursing).  However, we often do not have the liberty of an entire institution to help us live our daily lives. We must wear certain “hats” in appropriate situations, seeing through different lenses as often as possible.

I recently read Robert Greene’s “Descent of Power” and what he outlines on page eleven illustrates the importance of perspective perfectly.  In a charming, military analogy, Greene describes the necessity of having commanders and generals at certain locations on the battlefield. Though one is generally not fighting battles in the traditional sense, these concepts are still important.

On The Ground:

Snap decisions must be made. There is no time to think. Leaders at this level must be able to coordinate action quickly and effectively, dealing with one issue after another. The quick response rate proves to be invaluable when dealing with variables in your campaign. 

At Ten Feet:

These commanders have the opportunity to see what is to come on the battlefield. They can help ground troops by understanding near future needs. Do they have enough ammunition for the next wave of assault? Are they properly hydrated? The perspective at ten feet guides real time action on the ground with a little direction.

At One Hundred Feet:

At this height you have a clear vision of the entire war. You see who has the upper hand, advantages, and disadvantages of the current situation. Having a bird’s eye view of all the players, you begin to understand your opponent’s strategy. Able to predict and plan for your enemy’s next move, this perspective let’s you understand how the battle will be fought moving forward. Is it time to retreat or push forward? You have now jumped from immediate response to near future planning.

On A Mountain Top:

You have the world in your vision. You see groups of people gather together, movements begin, and trends starting to take hold. This is long term planning at its best. You begin to see new opportunities and conflicts begin to shape. Your perspective here directly impacts your near future planning. Is it advantageous to expand the empire or concentrate your efforts on domestic policy? These decisions create culture, identity, and image. This perspective also ensures that time and resources be allocated to the proper channels efficiently.

So how can understanding these perspectives help your cause?

Perspective makes the world go round. It is often why we are such communal, team building species. Though we can individually shift our lens, it’s often at the institutions advantage to have specialized perspective. In our human history, especially during the industrial revolution, specialization lead to productivity and innovation. What perspectives do you already have, lack, or need to focus in order to achieve your goals?


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