Wood for Trees
'Not seeing the wood for the trees' is a possibly overused maxim but, in my conversations with 'visionary' leaders, I am always impressed by how they strip away distractions so that they can hold an uninterrupted focus on their work.
This first became clear to me when I met an American author, resident in California, and I asked if I could follow up on a few of the ideas he had left with me following his presentation. "Sure", he replied, "...if you can get hold of me. You won't be able to."
It seemed that when he was on the road, any question was fine. Back at home, he protected his time and work carefully.
I guess that an easy artful, visual analogue is our continued use of black and white photography even though the more data-comprehensive and representational colour technology has been with us for many years now. When I use visual elicitation techniques with clients (they choose images and we discuss the relevance they find...) there is often a longing for the simplicity and clarity found in the pared back, black and white images they choose. I also notice that the vogue for 'filters' in social media photography which remove information by washing out colour or mimicking selective focus provides a similar role.
And so, for those who are considering how to increase the impact and influence of their work, my advice is to consider what you can do without.
- What would enable you to hold undistracted focus on your work?
- How can you most simply express your vision?
- What discipline or practice will enable you to see beyond the obvious?
- How will you protect your time?
In my image above, colour added nothing and so I have reduced the image to the monochrome b&w - it captures better the 'image' that unfolded in front of me.
But, hey, if anyone has seen our dog recently....