I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. Our world is increasingly detail-heavy where the smallest things can make the biggest difference. These things are important, and for me personally, mean a lot. I have to catch myself and zoom out to make sure the detailed work I am focusing on still is tied into the larger picture, the original or changing objectives, etc.
The challenge is that the detailed work often takes more time. The challenge is enhanced when the return on time spent dealing with details is considered diminishing after certain amounts of time. When is the right time to stop? When do you ship? Seth Godin pushes thinking on these questions regularly.
I have found a lot of value in actively zooming out on a monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly basis depending on the scale of the task. Zooming out simply means to picture the details you are working on as they relate to what you are ultimately trying to achieve. Is it still necessary? Does it still add value? Good questions to keep you in check.
I think about this concept a lot as it relates to our agency. For the work we are building, after zooming out, does it still create value for our clients and partners? Does my involvement in that work still hold true to that objective? I strive to make sure those answers are regularly yes but inevitably there are times where I need to stop and realign to get back on track. It is a good exercise and one that has produced a lot of efficiency around me.
It is not so different in marketing programs as they relate to a brand. Ideally, your individual activations and campaigns add up and integrate toward a greater objective - your brand. It is critical for marketing teams to zoom out often so that each and every dollar of marketing investment can be attributed to moving objectives forward. I believe this practice will only grow more critical in the coming months and years.