Do you sometimes take a meta-perspective?

Do you sometimes take a meta-perspective?

“But it’s not possible”, “I don’t see how this is going to work”, “We’ll have to drop everything”. Do you recognize that you are stuck in a problem, at work or at home. You’re trudging through the mud, struggling to get your boots on every step you try to take, so you don’t see that there’s a path right next to the boot you’re trying to drag along. How does that happen?

There are many answers of course, I choose to focus on a few that I think affect whether you take (have the ability to take) a meta perspective (helicopter view) or not sometimes.

The impact of the brain

Today, we live in a society that leaves very little room for recovery, which few of us have missed. Just as we environmentally live as if we have the resources of two Earths, we live and act as if we have a brain with a few extra in stock. Our youngest part of the brain, the cortex or human brain, is the part of the brain that distinguishes us from other mammals. This part of the brain enables us to, among other things plan, make decisions and read. Our awareness and fine motor skills are also found in this area. Our cerebral cortex also includes the frontal lobes, which research suggests are not fully developed until around the age of 25. At the age of 25! This means that the most sensitive and longest-developing part of the brain is exposed to high levels of stress and stimuli from a very early age. In addition, the frontal lobes, which are responsible for controlling our impulses, providing overview and perspective, and giving us the ability to feel compassion and love, are the most sensitive to stress. So there is a direct link to the way we live and how it can affect our ability to zoom out and make decisions.

The brain can’t function optimally if we don’t give it rest, and this reduces our ability to make use of the resources our brain can actually provide. If we reduce or lose the ability to zoom out, it is easy to become more detail-focused and we run into balls without really having a full picture of what goes with what and why we do certain things. Which in itself often creates more stress, irritation, anxiety and a signpost spinning around with no clear direction.

Abstract or meaningful

We need to be able to access both the details of what we do and where we are in life, so that it makes sense to fill the different contexts of life with meaningful actions. However, we need to be able to zoom out when something doesn’t seem right, or we simply need to get some perspective and sort out the clutter in our heads.

If we get too bogged down in details, it’s easy to be colored by the filter I’m wearing, we lose or forget the ability to see our own context in relation to other things around us. On the other hand, if we are always in a summary mode and avoid going into details, we do not fully fill our lives with meaning either. It is this important balance that is key. Balance between zooming in and zooming out on context and life in general.

Zooming in and out of a company

In a company/organization we need to have the same mindset. An ability to zoom in and out. And that there needs to be a balance in between. If you envisage an improvement process being implemented in your company. Over the next three months you will receive continuous information from management, but it is always very general. It doesn’t really give a clear picture of what is expected of you, how your knowledge is valued and whether your opinions matter on the way to the goal. What would it feel like to have that?

Another scenario (the opposite) is to be told that things are to be improved and then be given a stack of full A4 pages on how to do it, what is expected and in such detail that there is no room for creativity or flexibility. You may even not have known about it until the paper bundle arrived digitally in your mailbox. If there is a lot of detail about how the process should be done, but little or nothing about why it should be done, confusion and anxiety can be even greater.

So in a company, it is important to ensure that both the information to be delivered downwards in the organization and the planning that takes place before, reconciliation during and follow-up, has a mix of overall and detailed level. Make sure your company develops the ability to switch between them in a balanced way. All to get staff on board with the way forward.

Today, with developments and opportunities coming at a rapid pace, the importance of flexibility and space to move between these levels is also high. There needs to be a good understanding that what we decided yesterday may not work tomorrow, and be able to take a meta-perspective and act accordingly.



– Try zooming out of your life for a moment. Which parts do you feel are in balance and which would you like to see change?

– Think about whether you act the same way in your work setting as in your private setting when it comes to problems and problem solving. When you get stuck, do you have the ability to easily zoom out and see other opportunities?

– What is the situation in your company? Do you have a good balance between overall and detailed levels?



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