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Are You Too Focused?


When you use the zoom feature on your camera, there’s a trade-off you need to make. To focus on a specific object or portion of the image field, you must gradually give up your ability to view the rest of the image field as you continue to zoom in. This inverted relationship is what we will refer to as the Paradox of Focus and it shows up in many aspects of our lives.

One particularly interesting example of this paradox has to do with one of the world’s most popular search engines, Google. They made headlines when they updated their policies around data and information collection and utilization. The ultimate goal of Google’s strategy is to improve your search results by predicting what you’re looking for based on past searches.

This is all well and good for the most part, but this process also has some significant drawbacks. If we think about the focus paradox introduced earlier, the more accurate and precise Google’s predictions of your search needs, the more narrow the scope of information available to you. Even today, if two people enter the exact same phrase or words into Google, the search results will look vastly different from one another. This may be helpful in some instances, but it can also be extremely limiting by constraining the quantity of information we have access to unless we dig very deep into the search results.

The Paradox of Focus is also often observed in the businesses and companies we are all a part of. In order to gain recognition and “move up the ladder” many of us have to become experts in a specific field or area of the business. Similarly, as whole companies grow to become experts in their markets, it’s easy for them to lose sight of new ideas and trends outside of their core markets which could positively and significantly impact their performance.

While helpful at times, the paradox of focus can be very limiting especially in the business world where the need to balance innovation with focus can be challenging. As consultants and coaches specializing in human performance and development in CNY, we at PLS have noticed that many of our clients could learn from one another, but they lacked a forum to do so.

To encourage collaboration, we host a Leadership Roundtable group comprised of local business leaders, managers, and executives who share the same passion for human performance and development. Once a quarter, these groups meet at our office to network and share their successes, challenges, experiences, and ideas for the purpose of learning from one another and widening their perspective.

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